A true inspiration

Evelyn pictured with her award

Article credited to College Development Network (CDN)

CDN College Awards College Colleague of the Year, Health Care Lecturer Evelyn Chelley, was recognised for her commitment to her family, her students, her college and the community.

Evelyn Chelley has been a Health Care Lecturer at Borders College since 2008 and has trained much of the local workforce in health and social care, including students who have gone on to complete their qualified nurse training status.

Alongside this, Evelyn works as a nurse at Borders General Hospital, volunteers, cares for her mother and is an active supporter of several charities.

Evelyn maintains the highest of standards in her teaching and assessment, particularly with the HNC Healthcare Practice students. An inspiring lecturer, she also contributes to the wider community as a staff nurse at Borders General Hospital and was one of the many staff responsible for the operational management of the mass vaccination roll out across the Scottish Borders.

Evelyn is a key link between the college and further nurse training at Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University. Many of the students hoping to gain entry to the second year of nurse training are dependent on Evelyn for assessment of placement practice hours, UCAS references and link visits.

Evelyn uses her clinical assessment skills volunteering with the Scottish Mountain Rescue Service, taking part in emergency call outs and also teaching first aid for the British Association of Ski Patrollers. She works with formal carers to look after her mother, who has dementia, and is a supporter of the My Name’s Doddie Foundation, raising money for research into motor neurone disease.

‘Evelyn has always gone over and above for us as a class, offering support and nurturing us all through the course. Her hard work and dedication has reflected on us and made us all who we are now, ready to take our first steps to university. Evelyn is a real inspiration to us, and I am so grateful for all the support she has offered me personally,’ said Lauren Hay, HNC Healthcare Practice student.

This already makes Evelyn an inspiring colleague, but in January 2022, Evelyn’s commitment to her teaching was found to be unquestionable. Following a serious accident, her son underwent treatment and rehabilitation and Evelyn needed to travel to New Zealand to care for him. She continued to teach two classes a week from New Zealand, working through the night to make the 9am UK start time, while also supporting the college in moving HNC course content from Moodle to the new virtual learning environment in a large digital transformation project undertaken by the college.

She also visited the Western Institute of Technology healthcare lecturing team, observing clinical skills classes and a demonstration of their VLE and competency-based portfolio submissions with the intention of bringing this knowledge back to the college.

‘Evelyn has always inspired students and staff alike but the commitment and dedication she displayed over the past few months has been above and beyond. Without a doubt, Evelyn’s priority is supporting her son during a difficult time, but she has also found the time and energy to continue to support the students, delivering lessons, checking on placements and arranging interview materials for next year’s intake.

‘I am sure the student group appreciate the support they have had, and the staff team appreciate Evelyn’s continued commitment,’ said Joan Cairney, Curriculum and Learning Manager Care and Access.

Evelyn said:

‘I’m lucky to work with a great team and, after all these years, feel fortunate to still love what I do. The mix of clinical practice and teaching means every day is different. I get to work with people at the start of their careers in care, but also to work with experts in different fields.

‘It made sense to keep teaching remotely when I was in NZ, as we had all become used to this. I had great support from my colleagues, the IT team and elearning technologists. That’s what it’s all about – doing our best and supporting each other.’

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