Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

STUDENT BLOG

'I'll stick to the books: why I'm choosing a career in research'

  • Comment

I remember being in my third and final year of my nursing degree fervently hoping that I would secure a job in an older adult community mental health nursing team. 

Katie Davies

After input at university from the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and time spent in practice placements, I developed a real passion for working with people living with dementia; and that is what is expected isn’t it, for you to get your degree and go into practice?

However, towards the end of my degree I was offered the opportunity to do a fully funded postgraduate master’s degree. My fees would be paid for me and I would continue to get an NHS bursary, so I thought why not? I love to learn and this sounded like a wonderful opportunity to continue to do so.

“The MSc was not easy. For one, as a mental health nurse, the vacant look on my face during the compulsory Advanced Pathophysiology class was something to behold”

So straight after completing my nursing degree I embarked on a full-time MSc in Advanced Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University, the same institution where I had studied for my undergraduate.

The MSc was not easy. For one, as a mental health nurse, the vacant look on my face during the compulsory Advanced Pathophysiology class was something to behold. I knew the basics of anatomy and physiology but I certainly couldn’t describe the intricate inner workings of the renal system off hand. However, it didn’t put me off and I muddled through.

In the third and final semester I could carry out my own empirical research for my MSc dissertation. This is when my interest peaked.

“The entire research process fascinated and intrigued me, from developing the question to designing the research and actually conducting the research, I was hooked from start to finish”

After consulting with my supervisor, I decided to explore student nurses’ experiences and perceptions of caring for people living with dementia. The entire research process fascinated and intrigued me, from developing the question to designing the research and actually conducting the research, I was hooked from start to finish. It led me to start to think what it was I wanted to do next.

I worked for a voluntary organisation as well as the NHS as a registered nurse during my MSc and in the year after whilst I considered my options. With the support from my MSc supervisor and other staff at the university I started to consider PhD options with the view to a career as a nurse researcher.

I wanted to combine my two passions of dementia and research so I applied for two relevant PhD studentships at different universities. To my surprise and delight I was offered both.

“I haven’t followed the regular route as a graduate nurse but nursing is now a profession with such a wide variety of career paths and I’ve found the one for me”

I started my PhD in September of this year at the University of Manchester and haven’t looked back. I am under no illusions that the next three years are going to be tough; I’m anticipating a few tears, tantrums and the odd glass of wine, but I am looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to work closely with people living with dementia.

I haven’t followed the regular route as a graduate nurse but nursing is now a profession with such a wide variety of career paths and I’ve found the one for me - at this stage of my career at least.

You can follow my journey through my PhD at twophdgirls.wordpress.com and on Twitter @Kat1eD.

Katie Davies is studying for a doctorate at University of Manchester

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.