I was always warned that my three years of PhD funding would fly by and while I did not doubt it, I am still amazed at the pace with which it has disappeared. The exciting news is that I will soon be starting as a Research Assistant in the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, but that means that it is time to say goodbye to theSchool of Nursing and Midwifery Studies.
I know that I’ve said it a lot, but the last three years really have been a brilliant experience. Not only have I learned how to plan and undertake qualitative research, I’ve also learned all about other research designs and approaches. I’ve had the boundaries of my knowledge and understanding well and truly pushed, although my partner is fed up of me interpreting everything according to a social constructionist perspective!
I’ve also had the chance to take part in such a variety of other activities and projects. During the last three years I’ve regularly taught clinical skills, which has been a fantastic opportunity. I discovered that I love teaching students, particularly when they are at the beginning of their journey to becoming a nurse and you can teach the importance of fundamental care, skills and attitudes. It’s also been a privilege to teach students nearing the end of their nursing journeys research, seeing their enthusiasm for the profession and their interest in learning how to move the evidence-base forward.
My organisational skills have progressed during my PhD to the point of obsessive, which I made great use of when helping to organise two conferences in the University. Having attended conferences for several years, helping to plan two was a great and unique experience. In particular, it was very interesting to work with an inter-disciplinary team to organise the Spotlight on Social Sciences conference, highlighting to me the differences between our research projects and perspectives in general of research.
However, it is the people in the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies and beyond that have made this PhD such a wonderful experience. I’ve been lucky to share an office with a brilliant group of people, who I will miss terribly when I can no longer fill them in on the banalities of my everyday life. I couldn’t have asked for better supervisors, while the support from administrators and IT has been fantastic. I’ve learned such a lot from the research and teaching staff in the school, who welcomed and supported me throughout.
To conclude, I’ve also learned something very important about myself (that I will have to try and change when I leave): that I write best in my jogging bottoms and no make-up, listening to soft opera, preferably in Italian (so I can’t try and sing along), in the morning.
Thanks everybody and I will see you in the evenings and weekends (maybe) when I return to the PhD office to finish the small task of my thesis…