Graduation Tales | Hilary overcomes Covid-19 to graduate with Masters degree

Hilary Hyett Graduation cap and gown 2022

This week, the International Convention Centre Wales in Newport will once again see thousands of our graduates cross the stage in their cap and gown. To celebrate, we are sharing the stories of some of our inspirational students.

Hilary Hyett, a physiotherapist from Cardiff, is graduating from the University of South Wales (USW) with an MSc in Strategic Leadership (Health and Social Care). She is the Team Lead for Cardiff Community Resource Team – an NHS service made up of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, dieticians and speech and language therapists, medical consultants and support staff.

The team, based in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, works closely with Cardiff Council Homecare staff to provide support to people who are housebound, with the aim of preventing hospital admissions where possible. The Council provide carers so that the team can support people at home, and give them the clinical support and therapeutic rehabilitation they need, without having to be admitted to hospital.

They also support people who have been admitted to hospital, so that as soon as they are medically fit, they can move back home to continue with their care, therapy and rehabilitation.

Hilary, who caught Covid-19 twice during the pandemic, is finally able to celebrate after her studies were disrupted back in March 2020 – on top of a high-pressure job at the frontline of the NHS.

“With Covid-19 and all the restrictions, the pressures are really high and the care capacity crisis within the community is really impacting on our patient flow at the moment,” she said.

“But we're all doing what we can in order to help the system, because there are many challenges now, more so than there were two years ago because of the ongoing effects of the pandemic.”

Having completed a PGC (postgraduate certificate) in Leadership in 2012, Hilary had the opportunity to study a Masters degree in order to progress in her career, and as her two children were now teenagers, January 2019 seemed the right time to return to study.

“The course looked really interesting, and the fact that there were no written exams attached to it was a really big plus for me,” said Hilary.

“On top of everything else, the thought of having to study for exams and sit exams on top of the coursework and assignments really didn’t appeal. There's a limit to how much stress I wanted to put on myself.

“The curriculum covered a lot of things that I thought would be useful, and the final project was very improvement-focused within the workplace. That was quite appealing because I'm not a natural academic who wants to spend hours reading. If I'm doing a piece of work I want to give it my best shot and I don't want to fail at it, so having that practical element and being able to implement the theoretical learning within a project in the workplace was one of the main reasons I chose the course.

“We did a coaching module which looked at practical skills to helping people within the workplace, so that was really helpful as the pandemic progressed and we all had to adapt to the uncertainty and ever-changing guidance.

“It was a lot of hard work on top of the day job, and I spent many weekends and days off at the laptop, but I had to keep the end goal in sight. I feel as if I’ve now removed the barrier for me to go forward in my career, and I’m proud of myself for keeping going. It’s about future-proofing myself, getting this qualification under my belt and allowing me to develop and cement my leadership style as I go forward.

"I would like to thank my family for all their support and encouragement over the last three years, that helped me to reach my goal!”

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