So why, at this time in my life, have I decided to make this move?
The opportunity to study for a doctorate was first offered to me immediately after completing a Masters degree, however I had been working as a nurse for a year, and was newly married.
That certainly did not feel like the right time to be starting a PhD. I was a novice in my chosen profession and needed to pay the mortgage. Then came kids! Juggling part-time work and childcare left little time to think about myself, let alone a career change.
I steadily progressed from a hospital staff nurse to a primary care advanced nurse practitioner for substance misusers. My nursing career has been extremely rewarding, and, at times, challenging. It has also raised numerous questions about why - and how - groups of people behave the way they do.
I found myself pondering, while bandaging the leg ulcers of injecting drug users, the most appropriate qualitative methods to explore certain questions, like ‘what motivates people to stop injecting drugs?’.
So, two years ago I decided that it would be a good time to start looking for PhD opportunities. I was hopeful that I had the academic background to manage the transition into full time research.
As with many vocations, nursing requires continuous professional development. So, in developing my clinical skills I have undertaken a number of Masters-level modules; in physical assessment, non-medical prescribing, and the management of specific diseases. I’d also already performed a qualitative study as part of my Masters degree which I really enjoyed; fuelling my desire to study for a longer period of time.