Open University Students make their pledges

Dementia Carer Voices Tommy Whitelaw spoke to Open University Students on Saturday 7th February at Glasgow Caledonian University.  Massive thank you to Joyce Cavaye for the invitation to speak, you can follow Joyce on Twitter at @joycecavaye .  Here is a few words from Joyce and the wonderful pledges from the students….

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Tommy talking to Open University students

by  Joyce Cavaye

Hearing people like Tommy talking about their personal experiences of caregiving creates a vital and profound learning experience for students.  This is why I invited Tommy to come along to the Open University’s day school for students who are currently studying our level one course ‘An Introduction to Health and Social Care’.  Many of these students are already working in or aspire to work in the care sector or have been the recipient of care themselves.  Many of them are also juggling work and family commitments alongside part-time study.   Those who attended the recent day school in Glasgow came from as far afield as Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Dumfries and Edinburgh.  Each and every one of them provided feedback in which they said how much they had enjoyed Tommy’s talk and they were struck by how closely his experiences resonated with the principles of care that they were exploring in their course.  They were more than happy also to make pledges on how they as individuals can make a difference!

The Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University has a long history of engaging service users and carers in the development and delivery of our courses. Here in Scotland we have our own service user and carer group which meet on a regular basis. Service users and carers who work with us allow their stories to be used as case studies in learning materials and they provide feedback on written material for new courses.  They are also involved in the selection of students to our professional nursing and social work degrees, in the assessment of students work and the overall management of professional programmes.  Others like Tommy also take part in day schools and workshops to share their experiences.

Tommy’s willingness to engage means that our students gain a better understanding of how the behaviours of health and social care professionals can affect people’s lives on a daily basis.  How such simple measures such as not assuming you know everything, listening and asking questions are key to the wellbeing of carers and the people they are looking after.  Being taught by carers and others who use welfare services, enables students to be better equipped to deliver care in a more effective way and to a higher standard than those being simply taught about issues through reading or traditional lectures.  It helps students to appreciate the importance of person-centred care from the beginning of their career in health and social care.  So input from carers like Tommy is vitally important to students’ learning and in helping them to understand what good quality care is and how best to deliver it. I look forward to hearing Tommy speak again to a another group of new students at our next day school later in the year.


My pledge is to listen more to my services users and ask questions about how they feel or how I can help more or less – Suzie Spence

I pledge to listen and consider the thoughts and feelings of people – Stacey

I pledge to be compassionate and help people with dementia – Toyin Freeman

My pledge is to continue being compassionate towards the service users I work with daily and being a good listener.

My pledge is to help and support by listening to individuals which I support and help them receive additional support if required – Hazel Jayne McKinnon

I pledge I will take time to ask the people with dementia and their carers how they are coping and if they have any fears or concerns – Amy Slater

My pledge is to carry on caring for the people I support at work and at home – Joanne Kelly

My pledge is to ask more questions so I am in a better position to make people life more enriched – Grant Hopkins

I pledge to qualify and be the best carer the service user could ask for and need – Joanne Rawlings

I pledge to be more mindful towards people in general.  To keep an open mind to issues I don’t understand – Lindsay Murdoch

My pledge – I will try my best to be a caring and compassionate human being and to help others to the best of my abilities.

My pledge – To have empathy, genuinely care and an understanding.

I pledge to try my best to be caring and compassionate, listen to people and try to see things from their point of view.





Thank you Tommy, Irene, Sarah and Laura 🙂

Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges
One comment on “Open University Students make their pledges
  1. […] which have been used as key learning resources by the Open University, with many students also attending Tommy’s educational seminars to really embed the importance of genuine person centred […]

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