Studying whilst tackling Ebola proves no barrier for UDOL student

9 February 2015

Duane Stapleton, University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) student, has been working as an Environmental Health Technician tackling Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Duane is currently studying an MSc in Environmental Health with UDOL, and has recently returned to Portsmouth from Sierra Leone where he set up a separate laboratory as part of a medical treatment unit to treat both military and non-governmental organisation (NGO) entitled personnel.

Talking about his job Duane said: “My role was primarily to provide a lab service for emergency and routine testing for all non-Ebola patients. However, my role also extended to providing advice of infection control, hygiene monitoring and infectious diseases.

“Studying online is allowing me to learn whilst on the job. I value the convenience and challenge of studying without having to enter a classroom. Studying with UDOL has enabled me as a manager, to be more aware of the regulations and my responsibilities surrounding health and safety, disease surveillance and reporting.  As a microbiologist, I now understand the role that the Environmental Health Officer plays in disease prevention and my role in diagnostics.”

Duane added: “My degree will assist me in becoming a health and safety manager as well as a Bio Safety representative within any given laboratory. Experience in diagnostic microbiology and environmental health knowledge is an invaluable combination, which I hope will enable me to achieve my future goal.”

Alan Whitfield, Academic Lead for Environmental Health at UDOL added: “Duane is managing to juggle his studies alongside high pressured duties as an Environmental Health Technician in the armed forces. Our programme has helped Duane to broaden his knowledge base and to apply this into a wider Public Health context.”

Find out more information about studying Environmental Health at the University of Derby Online.