Student stories (PhD)
I work as a teacher within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sheffield and have been a Registered Nurse since 1994. When I completed my Masters degree some years ago I thought I’d reached my ‘limits’ and a PhD was not something I’d ever do. However, the staff within the School have been very supportive in helping me believe this is something I can do. I explored numerous options for a PhD topic and where to study as it had to be something I was passionate about and that could make a difference. The School has experts in a variety of fields and I was therefore able to find an area of research that enables me to pursue my passion for renal care, through the exploration of the experiences of patients with renal disease using an Oral History approach.
I am studying part time whilst working which is a challenge so discipline and time management are important. The resources available within the School and the Faculty in terms of supporting education are very good and I’m impressed with the wide variety of opportunities available to students to develop themselves.
I love what I’m doing – I get very excited about anything renal related! This is matched by the support and enthusiasm of my PhD supervisors who help me focus that energy and keep me on track!
started my PhD in October 2018, researching the impact of mesothelioma on UK military veterans and their families. As I dropped the school subjects Biology and Chemistry at the age of 14, how exactly did I find my way into being a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health? After studying for a degree in Ancient Greek and Latin, I trained to be an accountant for a couple of years, then became a secondary school Classics teacher. Later I trained as a counsellor alongside my teaching job, and then took an MA in Trauma Studies. After 30 years in school teaching, I decided it was time to do something different. The advertisement for this qualitative PhD project tempted me as it was fully funded by Mesothelioma UK and my skill set around trauma and bereavement was an excellent fit.
I am really enjoying studying at the School as everyone is very supportive and the opportunities for developing my research skills are really accessible. Sheffield has been my home for 18 years, but I have found it exciting to see everything through different eyes. Some of the Faculty Ethics seminars where we talk about laboratory experiments are way over my head, and I’m a lot older than most of the other students, but I have no regrets about moving into such a vibrant, international community of researchers.
I chose to apply to the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sheffield for two main reasons. First, the broad range of research topics and postgraduate scholarship schemes. Prior to embarking on my PhD, I had completed an MSc in Nursing Science, a PG Cert in Public Health and had worked and volunteered in sexual health clinics. I knew I wanted undertake research in the area of sexual health and well-being but was not sure how to take research proposals forward or where to receive funding. So I jumped at the chance to apply for a PhD scholarship in sexual health and older adults as it combined my passions for sexual heath, nursing and research. Knowing that I would be working alongside academics with a long history of international publications in my area, was very important to me. As well as being fortunate enough to work with established academics, the support that the School provides is also second to none. Support which has given me confidence to pursue my goals be they collecting data, presenting my work to other academics or applying for jobs in preparation for the end of my PhD.
The second reason that I applied to the University of Sheffield was that I wanted to live in one of the greenest cities in the UK. Sheffield has an abundance of parks and the Peak District right on its doorstep. Even if you are not a nature lover, there are loads of other things to do. Cafes, pubs, restaurants, libraries, cinemas and theatres. This list is endless!
Through a combination of these things, my time in Sheffield is proving to be both fulfilling and worthwhile.
The PhD experience not only shaped my personality but also allowed me to discover my potential and reformulate both my short and long term goals. Thank you all for your direct & indirect contributions to my personal achievements of 2013.
I really can't thank you enough for all the inspiration and motivation you have given me. Your endless encouragement and ideas outside the box have brought me the educational experience that I was always looking for.
Dr Mansour Al-Yami of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health was awarded his PhD from the School of Nursing & Midwifery in 2013.