Melanie Watson awarded Honorary Degree

Issue date: 20 July 2017

Melanie Watson

Melanie Watson has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Master of Science by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in recognition of her commitment to educational leadership.

Melanie was born in Bristol, educated in school and college in South Bristol and graduated from UWE in 1994 with a BTEC HND in Medical Laboratory sciences, having completed a training placement in Pathology at the Bristol royal Infirmary laboratories.

Melanie then registered to practice as a Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer (MLSO) and began my practice in the Haematology and Blood Transfusion services at the BRI.

In 1995 she completed the primary examinations of the Fellowship of the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) which she managed two weeks before getting married to her husband Lee. She obtained my full IBMS fellowship in 1997 having completed a dissertation on Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor and a research project entitled 'Diagnostic Tools for Functional Iron Deficiency, a Comparison Study'.

Melanie's knowledge through these studies and practical experience in the lab led to promotion to an advanced biomedical science practitioner in Haematology. She really enjoyed these very 'hands on' scientific periods of her career and was keen to enthuse and train others and in 1998 became training officer.

With her eye on the undergraduate trainee scientists from UWE, she also went on to introduce the IBMS medical laboratory assistant training portfolio and supported Specialist registrar training for the Royal College examinations. Due to her passion for encouraging young people into science she became a Healthcare Science regional STEM ambassador for the regional network and formalised a schools work experience package for the laboratory. Melanie gained a level 3 diploma in teaching and learning which broadened her skills in delivering vocational qualifications.

At this busy time Melanie brought their two sons into the world: Luke in 1999 and Todd in 2001 and continued part time working during their formative years.

Melanie's heart was set on education and workforce development so she threw herself back into part time study alongside her work. She first gained a level 4 OCR Business diploma in Internal Verification. Her real pride was graduating from the University of Bristol in 2016 with an MSc in Teaching and learning for Health Professionals. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience of interviewing trainee science practitioners at UWE to find out their perception of what learning in an inter-professional module meant to them as part of her final research project.

Melanie had an amazing opportunity in 2011 to move into an Educational leadership role and made the difficult decision to move from practical science role. She then focussed on her development as a leader in science education. At this time the landscape of healthcare science education went through significant change and she became a member the national Healthcare science bodies to help shape this change ensuring that the workforce voice in the region was heard. She also had secondments with commissioning of education with Health Education England offices and supporting the Chief Scientific officer's scientific directors' network in the South of England.

Melanie is currently education and training lead for the West of England NHS Genomic Medicine centre. A leadership role that delivers on all her educational values: partnership and network working, interprofessional working, STEM engagement and quality assured educational activities.

The Honorary Degree was awarded in recognition of Melanie Watson's commitment to contribution to Healthcare Science at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Health and Applied Science at Bristol Cathedral.

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