It doesn't matter where you start. Find your research journey - there’s more than one path
I love research and I always have done, but my journey to being awarded an ARC Wessex PhD Scholarship has been far from traditional.
I have always been passionate about the nursing profession and in particular nurses and others who provide care in a person’s home. As a very busy District Nurse and Community Matron I had always assumed that research would be something I did later in my career. An incident at work left me severely unwell. This incident not only changed my life, it made me want to help others and learn about work pressure and how this impacts well-being and mental health.
I moved into a Research Nurse position which was invaluable, it opened my eyes in seeing how research works in the NHS from research design to recruitment and data collection. It also gave me a great understanding of research governance and ethics. At the same time, I began work on my Master’s dissertation. I was fortunate enough to work with Professor Jane Ball, a globally renowned nursing researcher who became my supervisor. The MSc Dissertation allowed me to experience conducting my own research whilst developing skills in academic research.
For anyone thinking of getting into research I would say go for it! Research is rich, rewarding and exciting. It doesn’t matter where you are starting from, there are so many opportunities available.
It is easy to think that research or doing a PhD is an individual activity, I have learnt from my journey that it is only possible as a team - without the generosity of time, knowledge and leadership from Professor Jane Ball, University of Southampton and Dr Sarah Williams, Solent NHS Trust this research would not be possible and I hope that together we can learn how to prevent nurses and others from getting harmed by doing a job that they love.
- Get in touch with your Research and Development team - they are a great source of knowledge about opportunities and how to start your research journey
- If you can, I would really encourage people to get experience in NHS Research Delivery, Internships are a good way of getting this experience
- Connect with people - research is only achieved in a team
- Find your research journey - there’s more than one path