Digital Degree Apprenticeship leads to innovative new patient care techniques for NHS Renal Service in Wales


Mike Wakelyn, a Senior Infrastructure Engineer for the Welsh Renal Service in the NHS enrolled for his Digital Degree Apprenticeship in 2017 with the expectation that the degree and the skills learnt would help with his current role, and his experience and exposure to complex IT systems would help with the degree studies.

During his degree, Mike developed an innovative web-based dashboard that gave nurses a live view of due medications for patients they were treating.

Mike said: “When a patient sits down to dialyse, there are no paper-based drug charts on their table and the nurses do not need to find notes or track down doctors to re-write illegible charts. Studying at UWTSD gave me the time and skills I needed to develop the dashboard far quicker than I could have managed otherwise.”

Studying and working full-time, growing the IT systems in Renal care from a regional to national service was challenging for Mike, added to these pressures the emergence of a global pandemic. During this period, Mike spent many months writing complex data extractions and automated data tracking tools that monitored patients’ health, particularly important for those who had to reduce weekly treatments as a result of COVID. As a result of his studies, his self confidence has grown, and also his ability to perform under pressure.

Dr Stephen Hole, Apprentice Liaison Officer said: “Mike studied hard for the four-year duration of the BSc programme and deservedly achieved a first-class honours degree. Mike’s confidence and skill set has grown through his studies, and this has allowed him to make a significant difference to patient care in the National Health Service.  Time for Mike to focus on his family career and fishing. Good luck Mike a pleasure to have supported you through your studies. Whilst it might have taken you a number of years to achieve your bachelor’s degree you have certainly demonstrated to all your hard work, determination, academic and professional skills.”

Mike is now looking forward to spending quality time with his family and focusing on his career. He would recommend the Digital Degree Apprenticeship to others, as although challenging the results have meant a huge improvement in procedures for patients and staff in the renal service within the NHS. He also hopes his hard work and commitment to study will serve as an example to his young children concerning the importance and value of higher education.

Mike stated: “Like any degree study it is hard, but with added professional and family pressures, it really takes its toll.  With all that said, the staff at the university were supportive and it has all been worth it in the end.”

Further Information

Llinos McVicar BA (Hons), MA, AFHEA, ACIM
Principal Communications and PR Officer Alumni
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