Rachel Slater in her office

What did you do before coming to Somerville? 

I was District Nurse In Jericho for 13 years at the Observatory Practice then Kidlington for 7 years.I managed a small team of nurses ,visiting patients of all ages in their own homes  for many health conditions.

You’ve been in Oxford for some time. How did you come to work for the university, and what keeps you here?

I have lived in Oxford over half my life now but have kept my strong Yorkshire accent!! I started work at the university in Oct 2021 having decided I was ready for a change of direction within my nursing career. The great working conditions- autonomy, staff support, hours are obviously a big plus to working here, but I am thoroughly enjoying working with younger clientele and the various health issues facing them.

Do you have any favourite moments from your time at Somerville?

I had a great sense of satisfaction when seeing the changes in a student’s health and wellbeing, as a result of the shared efforts from the welfare services within the college.

According to recent a wellbeing survey, you’re extremely popular and trusted by our students. What do you think is the secret of being an effective nurse for young people?

I think it must be the dulcet Yorkshire accent making students feel comfortable! No, more seriously, I believe I am a friendly and approachable person, and hopefully that puts students at ease.

What does your day-to-day life as College Nurse look like? Has the pandemic changed your day-to-day working life?

I start my day at 9:30, checking and responding to emails until 10, when my first appointments start. Many students require sign-posting to other services which can often be done via email. During the pandemic, drop-in sessions were suspended and now Students have to book their own appointments through an online link . My day consists of seeing students in a manner of ways – they can see me face to face in my clinic room here at Somerville, virtually on teams, by telephone or even go for a walk with me.

A typical day for me is spent dealing with a variety of health issues, ranging from attending to someone with injuries such as burns/sprains, to listening to someone talking through their mental health issues. 

What do you do outside work/to relax?

My two main loves are walking and live music (Paul Weller’s a favourite!). Oh, and very importantly, I mustn’t forget my two kids. They take up a lot of my time, but in the best way possible!

Describe Somerville in three words.

Inclusive, warm, friendly.

Further reading?

Spotlight on Somerville 4: Defending Ukraine’s Universities, Protecting the Pound and More

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28 September 2022
Spotlight on Somerville 4: Defending Ukraine’s Universities, Protecting the Pound and More

Joyce Reynolds

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23 September 2022
Joyce Reynolds

The Long Read: An Interview with Professor Iyiola Solanke

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22 September 2022
The Long Read: An Interview with Professor Iyiola Solanke