PhD Health Science

What did you enjoy most about your PhD?

To have the opportunity to undertake further education study and a PhD has been remarkable. I have enjoyed the whole process which has changed me immeasurably and opened up so many opportunities. 

Also something unexpected but which proved to be such a pleasant surprise was the camaraderie, advice and common bond of individuals I have come into contact with. This has marked my PhD journey especially the realisation that completing this course of study was due to the support of research participants, academic supervisors, fellow students, work colleagues, academy managers and administrators, family and friends.


How did Swansea University change your academic expectations?

I have become more accomplished as a researcher, my study has made a contribution to the evidence base concerning nurse education, and I have entered into collegial debate. Because of this, I have come to recognise the implications of scholarly activity as weighty. I am not only representative of a Higher Education Institution, but now also contribute to the reputation of a wider research community. 

I was fortunate to be a part of such a community of practice at Swansea University. Being a member of the Research Interest Group within the School of Health and Social Care was extremely valuable throughout my candidature and since. Benefitting from experienced PhD supervisors was critical. Taking advantage of the many Swansea University research orientated sessions, courses, seminars and conferences promoted a sense of belonging to an education community. Swansea University has changed my academic and scholarly expectations in this sense. I have learned to be more confident in having something to say - and to enjoy that.


What would you tell prospective research students about college life?

I would say to participate in all aspects of University life whilst they are available to you during your candidature. This is especially the case because alongside academic development I have gained life lessons about stamina, commitment, project management, supervision and reflective practice. I feel I have learned these things because I have benefited fundamentally from the influence of friends and colleagues from different backgrounds, cultures, professions and subject areas.


What are your future career/academic goals?

As a consequence of completing my PhD in 2016, I have continued with activities including published work, conference presentations, and advisory activities which have influenced local and national policy. I now have a Twitter handle @Si_Cassidy widening my professional contacts.

Having a PhD has therefore given me a foundation and the confidence to consider other professional development. I am grateful for the impact Swansea University has had on me in this respect. I have heard further education described as “a journey,” “a marathon,” “a rollercoaster” even “a survival.” I would say it is all of these things, but most of all “a privilege.”