Monthly Archives: October 2012

Back to Skool II

I met the new group of students enrolled on the Professional doctorate this week. They are all doing really interesting and clinically valuable projects. Although they have two years of taught modules before their research phase, they already have strong research ideas that come from their clinical practice:


Anne Owen: the introduction of the ‘nursing dashboard’ computer interface. evaluating its impact

Sian Lewis: How to improve compliance with dietary advice amongst patients with head and neck cancers following gastrostomy tube insertion

Janice Waters: Developing a tool to identify and assess children with behavioural problems that have a sexual dimension

Suzanne Harris: Evaluating the impact of discharging patients early following surgery

Claire McCarthy: the implementation of a nurse led minor injury clinic- perceptions of clinical and patient populations

Cath O’Brien: Examining the educational needs of trainee pharmacists

Mark Jones: Ensuring evidence based mental health care

Ricky Hellyar: Why haematology patients choose to participate in clinical trials?

Kate Deacon: How can we assess  patients for delirium in intensive care settings?

They asked for my top tips for surviving a phd…..so here they are…

Start writing now and keep writing- the more you do the better you get
Get it written, don’t get it right- we are not interested in perfection
Keep talking to your supervisors
Don’t think of the whole thesis or even ‘chapters’ (too scary), break it down into bite sized chunks that you can manage- from a thesis, down to 10,000 word chapters and in each chapter there could be 5 sections….so think in 2,000 word sections that are doable
It is all about perseverance, so keep calm and keep going….

Katie

Ever wonder what you might do after your PhD?

Vicky was a PhD student at the School of Nursing and Midwifery nearly two years ago and has kindly written a blog piece for us, telling us a little bit about what her life has been like post – PhD…

Following a BSc and MSc in psychology, I completed my PhD at Cardiff University in the department of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010. My research focused in the area of health psychology and addressed psychosocial predictors of PTSD, anxiety and depression in first admission acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients. This research involved developing a cardiac specific threat and coping questionnaire and working hands on, in a hospital environment, with acute cardiac patients. I discovered through out this research that the part of the PhD I found particularly rewarding was working within a clinical environment and having face-to-face contact with patients. This confirmed my long-term goal to pursue a career in clinical psychology.

Life can sometimes feel as if it is on hold towards the end of your PhD but I have found that it soon picks up pace after hand in! Following completion of my viva in early 2011, I married my then boyfriend of four years James. We decided to take an extended honeymoon by travelling to New Zealand for a year in order to work and explore. We settled in the Northland of New Zealand and I worked as part of nation wide research team for Otago University. This research was a Multi-level Intervention for Suicide Prevention (MISP) project. I worked as the northland representative looking at the efficacy of a series of intervention upon ED presentations for suicide, suicide ideation and self-harm. 

As this research contract draws to a close, my husband and I are currently in the process of applying for residency in New Zealand so that we have the option to stay a bit longer and I am applying for clinical psychology training both in the UK and in Wellington, NZ. Coming to the end of a PhD was a scary transition in to ‘real life’ but the gap left in my life by the PhD was soon be filled with numerous other opportunities and I look back fondly on my student days.

 

Back to Skool

It’s been a busy and successful year. So here are some of our highlights…

  • Dr Sally Anstey obtained her PhD with minor corrections.
  • Amie Hodges and Nikki West were awarded Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholarships to support their part-time PhD’s.
  • Mandayachepa Nyando and Mohammad Marie were awarded £1,250 prize from the University as our outstanding students of the year.
  • Shema Amer was recently honoured by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as a high achieving postgraduate.
  • Nikki West has been shortlisted for the Royal College of Nursing ‘Nurse of the Year’.
  • Jessica Baillie obtained a post-doctoral position in the Medical School.

We are very proud of you all….

Welcome to our new students starting this year… Marie Lewis, Ahmed Alghamdi, David (Abdulrahman) Aldawood, Ani (Aniawanis) Makhtar, Nasiha Al-Braiki, Laura Goodwin, Dave Evans, Jane Davies, Sarah Fry, and Hama (Hamadziripi) Ngandu.

Well done to all of you for securing funding and also well done to Nasiha and Ani who have also been awarded International Research Scholarships by the University.

We are really pleased that we have been able to extend the PGR suite so that you can all have a desk and will be in the same room. We look forward to seeing your projects develop.

We also have a few highlights to look out for in the coming year….

  • Our new doctoral training programme includes regular seminars and methods ‘masterclasses’ throughout the year (available to download from our main PGR page).
  • 5 of you are close to submission so we are looking forward to a busy graduation next summer.

Your evaluation has put us in the top three of the 25 PGR programmes in Cardiff University in terms of overall student satisfaction. However, of course we want to improve on this, so let us know if there is anything we can do… our doors are always open.

Katie and Rosemary

The King and I

Recently, I received an invitation letter from the Saudi Embassy Cultural Bureau in London. On behalf of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the Ambassador HRH Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Al-Saud invited me along with a group of other postgraduate students across a range of disciplines, who are studying in the UK. We have been selected because we have been deemed to have achieved excellence during our studies and we are held as an example of distinguished post graduate students. The Ambassador HRH Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Al-Saud celebrated with us, together with the celebrations of Saudi National Day on 24th September in London.  We are celebrating our 82nd Saudi National Day this year, which is a very important event that is in memory of the final reunification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932. King Abdulaziz’ mission was to bring peace to region and to restore Islam.

At the time I found out, I was so happy that the first thing I did was call my husband and children to inform them. I then attached the invitation letter and forwarded it to my supervisors, friends and colleagues to share my happiness. I was so excited each time when I thought about the celebration day. I prepared my bag and the first thing I put in was my camera! I wanted to take some photos to never forget this valuable event.

Celebration started with a reading from the Quran and welcoming speeches. Then Dr. Faisal Al-Abukhail (director of the Saudi Cultural Bureau) spoke about the progress of achievement in Saudi Arabia. He said that the Kingdom’s has allocated more than 25 % of the State’s total expenditures and more than 100,000 students study overseas in 2012.

Following this, the Ambassador addressed and congratulated all of us. He described how he was delighted and proud of our achievements. After that he also expressed his hopes that all Saudi students with overseas scholarships would be able to utilize their distinct experiences and transform the Kingdom into a knowledge based society on their return. After his speech we were presented with certificates. In terms of my selection as the distinguished student, it was due to a number of achievements. I graduated in 1997 with a first class honors degree in Nursing from the King Abdulaziz University, and then achieved a first class Master’s degree in Nursing from the King Saud University in 2005. Recently, I presented my at an international Conference in Egypt in 2007, and last academic year (2011) I was the winner of my research poster during the SONMS Annual Postgraduate Symposium. Since then, my poster has been accepted to be presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Paediatric and adolescents Diabetes (ISPAD), to be held Istanbul, Turkey from 10-13 October, 2012.

I think it is difficult to express my feelings and I will never ever forget this spectacular ceremony and celebration. Really it was like a dream and the opportunity of a lifetime. I am currently collecting and analysing my project data. I hope my achievements will continue with my project and I will have good results, be able to achieve my research project aims, and will be able to introduce new strategies for diabetes education in Saudi Arabia.

I’d like to express my special thanks to Dr. Katie, my supervisors and my colleagues for their advice, support, guidance and encouragement, which is always timely throughout my PhD study. Last, but not least, I wish to thank my husband and my children for their everlasting patience and their encouragement. Without their support maybe I will never be one of the outstanding students and achieve excellence during my studies.

 

 

 

 

 

With a little help from my friends…

I find myself sitting at a large desk in an office with a view of the city, staring at a computer screen, and silently panicking.  Surrounding me are people much more experienced and professional than myself, and suddenly I wonder how on earth I managed to blag my way into this position.

Within half an hour I have a pile of journal articles towering beside my keyboard, and abandoned highlighter lids scattered across my desk – long separated from their rapidly drying-out other halves. My hair is in a loose bun (a sign that I’m either concentrating or eating), and a collection of different coloured writing is scrawled in the pages of my notebook. I sit back and absorb the scene – and to my surprise, I grin. For the first time in months I feel happy in a job. The panic has subsided and been replaced with a nervous excitement. I’m doing a PhD. Slowly it’s starting to sink in.

About 6 months ago a PhD was one of the last things on my mind. The final year of my degree (BSc. Applied Psychology, Cardiff University), had been tough – the death of my Nan had left me a non-sleeping, non-eating mess, and I almost hadn’t made it through my exams. Refusing to waste 4 years of hard work, I mustered the determination and dedication to secure myself a First Class Honors, however my passion for academia had been somewhat tainted by my experience. It was then that I decided to get some “real-life” experience. Having loved Cardiff during my undergraduate years, I moved back here from my hometown of Exeter, and began working in a residential school for children with Autistic Spectrum Condition. It was, both physically and emotionally, an extremely challenging job and within a year in the position I began to feel the pull back to academic life. When the search for  research assistant positions within Cardiff University proved more difficult than expected (the University, after all, is far too popular!), I let myself consider the possibility of returning to university to train as a midwife (something I had always had a deep passion for). This led to an interesting combination of keywords in job searches – “midwife, maternity, psychology, assistant, researcher”. Luckily for me, this was the perfect combination of keywords for the journey I am about to embark upon.

My research proposal focuses on the relationship between UK midwives and ethnic minority mothers. In the recent Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE) report (2011) into maternal deaths, ethnic minority women were noted as being over-represented in the population. Efficient emotional support and communication in maternity care is important for a number of reasons including, in the most extreme cases, the prevention of maternal mortality (CMACE, 2011). Relationship, trust and communication problems have been consistently noted to prevent equality in service provision; including language barriers, stereotyping, and a lack of cultural competence. My aim, therefore, is to discover the factors leading to the success/failure of relationships between UK midwives and ethnic minority mothers. Long-term, this work would ideally lead to a reduction in mortality rates.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t experiencing the “secret fears”, so accurately laid out for us this morning by one of my supervisors, Dr Katie Featherstone. I do feel like I don’t belong…I do feel like I’m not good enough….and I am worried that this will be the time that everyone figures out that I’m not as clever as they think I am. (I also worry about being the youngest PhD student in my department – something which makes me feel as though I almost “playing” PhD). Nevertheless, I am also experiencing the “secret satisfactions”; I am going to enjoy my work for at least the next three years…I do have a set of wonderful and inspiring people around me…I have made it this far, despite the hurdles,….and I WILL succeed (with a little help from my friends).