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Is Zoe the youngest lecturer in the UK?

Zoe Butler

It has been a whirlwind year for recent nursing graduate, Zoe Butler. Not only did she win student nurse of the year before landing her dream-nursing job at her local NHS Trust but now she has secured a lecturing job at the university she graduated from at the tender age of 22, leading many to believe she is the youngest lecturer in the country.

According to a spokesperson from the University and College Union, it is hard to confirm absolutely but they agreed it seemed “unlikely there would be a younger one”.

Zoe, from Kendal, will be Lecturer in Assistant Practitioners in Health and Social Care at the University of Cumbria. The role entails, “inspiring people and giving them the skills to progress in a profession that is the best in the world,” said Zoe, referring to nursing as well as other pre-registered courses, such as radiography.

The post is new and will see Zoe apply her “hands on experience” gained while working at Morecambe Bay Hospital Trust to the classroom. This approach means she will be able to reflect modern healthcare practises in her teaching.

Zoe has always been a high achiever with a zest for life who in May 2017 won a national award, the Andrew Parker Student Nurse Award 2017, in recognition of her work to reduce the stigma of mental health among young people.

Zoe worked with young people to write and film a series of monologues as part of the Hot Potato project aimed at raising awareness of mental health. The video that resulted is now in use in schools across Cumbria to prompt discussions around the issue of mental illness.

Zoe will concentrate her focus on her new lecturing role but will continue to practise as a nurse. She never expected to get the job having applied for the role for the experience. “I couldn’t quite believe it I got the job but I am over the moon that I have. It’s my passion that got me into nursing and I want to inspire my students and instil them with the same feeling,” she said.

Zoe so impressed the recruiting panel that despite her age she beat the competition to win the role.

“Zoe was an outstanding student and I’m sure she will make a marvellous member of staff. Her dedication to the profession, her passion for promoting the job to others and her supportive nature means she is the perfect candidate for the job and I look forward to having her on my team,“ said Michelle Garner, Principal Lecturer, Department of Nursing, Health and Professional Practice at the University of Cumbria.

In the future Zoe plans to complete an MA in Clinical Education at the University of Cumbria and hopes to inspire others to take up a professional career. “I am so proud to be a part of the university. I aim to be innovative, excite my students and provide them with the skills to become lifelong learners and leaders in the workplace.”

Living these values, Zoe is taking over the @6CsLive Twitter account on Monday, 15 October in aid of mental health awareness. She will be telling stories and lessons learned from her Hot Potato project to help highlight good practice of empowering young people to open up about mental health.

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