Tell us a bit about yourself - what stage of your PhD are you in and what's your project about?
Hi! My name is Annabel and I am a third-year nursing PhD student at the University of Glasgow. My research looks to explore the effects of online self-diagnosis and health information seeking on the patient-healthcare professional relationship. I am interested in the growing phenomenon of internet health and how this is affecting modern day healthcare and relational aspects.
What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I’m not sure if there is a ‘typical’ day, as there are so many elements of research and it depends what stage you are at. Some weeks you can have presentations, attend a conference, be carrying out interviews or doing analysis. Although, on a normal week I am usually in my office and try to keep a 9-5 day. I share an office with a lovely group of nursing PhD students. I usually start my office days with reading/replying to emails over my morning coffee and writing a to-do list of tasks for that day – helps to stay on track. I also work as a nurse, so I do 1-2 shifts a week (depending on how many hours I work). I do bank nursing while doing my PhD as it’s flexible and I can choose my own shifts.
What's one thing that you've enjoyed the most during your PhD?
I love everything about my PhD. I feel lucky to immerse myself in research I feel so passionately about and I have really supportive supervisors. The flexibility of my PhD and bank nursing allows me to do both research and clinical parts of my job. I have had many great experiences and opportunities throughout my PhD, but I really enjoy attending conferences, meeting new people and presenting. Getting to meet others with similar research interests is always fascinating and its always really interesting to know other types of research being conducted within your subject area. At one of the most recent conferences I presented at, I was awarded the early career research prize which felt great to know my work was being recognised.
What's been the most challenging part of it?
The biggest challenge for me was maintaining balance. As you are in charge of your own project (with supervisory help), you set your own deadlines. I also book my own nursing shifts, so it was difficult for me to balance research work with my clinical work and have time for life. I struggled with this mostly at the beginning of my PhD but managed to find my feet and I have a much better and more structured routine now.
Where do you see yourself 5 years after completing your PhD?
I have a few ideas, but I would love to continue working in research while maintaining clinical work.
What's one piece of advice that you'd offer students that are thinking of doing a PhD?
My advice would be to have a real passion about your research area or an element of your PhD. Doing a PhD is a big commitment and it’s really enjoyable knowing that the time you are spending is going towards something you feel connected with, which can help keep you motivated throughout your PhD.
What makes your university a good place to study?
The University of Glasgow is a fantastic place to study and the nursing department is ranked top in the UK. It has excellent research and teaching facilities and the university is beautiful! The university offers many opportunities and there are plenty sports and societies to get involved with. It’s a really friendly and enjoyable place to study.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I work as a nurse outside of research but in my free time I have always enjoyed exercising. I play netball – but typically enjoy all sports. I love to spend time with my family and friends and also love travelling and exploring new places. I have recently re-started my blog which has been really nice to get back into.