Monthly Archives: September 2016


“Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

Exam Board

A great trip north!

Arrived in Aberdeen in good time to settle in and unpack. Mentioned to reception that I hoped to meet up with the other external for dinner but when she had not arrived by 7, went down on my own. Soon found out why she had not arrived. The airport was shut! A hole had appeared on the runway and the airport had stated that it had promulgated it to allow smaller planes to land but not the one from Norwich. So her plane had been diverted to Glasgow and she was to be bussed to Aberdeen arriving around midnight.

So I dined alone. Not a particularly interesting meal as a set menu but the glass of red wine was very nice.

Then I retired to my room and played with my Apple pen looking for free apps to use it with. This one NEBO  is pretty good. Converts to text as you write. Pretty accurate despite my terrible handwriting

Breakfast menuBreakfast next morning more than made up for dinner. Eggs Benedict Royale- the most delightful 1 have ever had. Delicious.

Taxi to my last meeting as external examiner. Some scripts to check, the lecturers keen to discuss problem students, proposed tweaks to the programme and some exchange of midwifery education news.

Out of the mouth of babes – reading through scripts can be fascinating as the students essays can give a suggestion of the practice they see without realising. Two in particular stand out. And paraphrasing so not to plagiarise. And a summary of several comments in the first case.

‘Midwives must give balanced information even though they disagree with physiological third stage’!

‘If the midwives practice of normal birth is not up to date, another midwife who is up to date must take over!’

Then the exam board itself. Lively discussion around the results of last years assessments. It was great to see clinical midwives present at the meeting, ensuring a link between theory and practice.

Finally a note of thanks from the chair for my five years as external reinforced by the lecturers and my time was finished.

The journey home was not without incident however! I caught a train two hours earlier than expected. But it was held up for 70 mins outside Stirling by a freight train whose container had slipped. Gave me more time to hunt Pokemon though!

What to do to replace my EE duties? I have something in mind!

Watch this space.


I have an exciting month of travels so I must once again attempt to blog about them. This morning I attempted to make a hole in my rather long to do list compounded by finding an urgent email in a seldom used account! I don’t enjoy travelling if I have things still to do!

So today I travel to Aberdeen to my final External Examiners exam board. The end of another era! Robert Gordon is the last of several institutions I joined as EE. I have been to UWE Bristol, Walsall, Middlesbrough and more which escape me.

i recommend to all educators to get involved as external examiner for several reasons. Firstly it gives you lots of ideas for your own curricula. Also lets you see the pitfalls of new innovations so you either avoid that particular ‘in’ thing or by improving on what someone else is doing. Secondly it shows you that your own institution ain’t doing such a bad job! In fact in some ways it is excelling. It also shows you that there are many variations on a theme where a curriculum is concerned and they all produce a well educated midwife by the end of it.

There are some non education related experiences to be had too!

I used to love bumming off for a day or two from ordinary work. And the fact that where you are going considers you the expert when your own place of work takes you for granted is a bonus. Then there is the travelling – time to hide from the world and either work or chill with no chance anyone can bother you.

New places to see, new people to meet! Students. Love meeting students and hearing their experiences. Same problems everywhere! But also lots of good experiences to hear about!

Same modules which are academically important but don’t really make much difference to how good a midwife you are, waiting to trip up third years as they see the line in sight! Decent salary, time for family and friends and then they fail the dreaded research critique!

I must admit i also also enjoy staying in different hotels, having nice meals not cooked by me. TV to myself. Wee glass of wine! And I am going out with a bang in Aberdeen. They have taken to putting us up at a very nice hotel, the Norwood House Hotel where the cheapest item on the dinner menu exceeds the allowance for dinner.

Yes i I shall miss being an external …..

Addendum The hotel now has a set menu with coffee which is exactly the same price as dinner allowance!