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From a young age I had a fascination for how things work, I must have annoyed my parents no end with my incessant questioning. As a teenager I knew I wanted to work in medicine and having competed science based A levels in 2000 I went to Kingston University to study Biomedical Science. In 2001 I had my daughter and decided to move back to Bournemouth. I started my nursing degree at BU in 2002 graduating in 2005 with a 1st. It was tough with a young baby but there was lots of support from both BU and the hospital in terms of my shifts and childcare.

After qualifying I worked as a surgical nurse in orthopaedics at Bournemouth hospital and returned to BU to complete my mentorship course so that I could support other students too. One of the things I really noticed when I qualified was that many of the things we did as ‘routine’ on the wards seemed more anecdotal than evidence based. As I became more confident I started to question why we did certain things and became interested in service provision and change management, a seed that the lecturers at BU had definitely planted.

After a couple of years on the wards I moved to the discharge co-ordination team. Each of us looked after 5/6 wards and ensured that patients had all they needed to be discharged safely. During this role I learnt about such a vast array of conditions, you needed to understand the symptoms and prognosis so that you could plan for people to be cared for at home.

For me BU gave me the basis of my theoretical knowledge whilst I learnt the practical aspects of nursing at the hospital. Over the next few years I worked across the trust and what was then the PCT as a senior clinical assessor supporting people with complex needs or those receiving palliative care.

In 2011 I decided that I wanted to further my academic interests and became a research nurse in dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2014 I was awarded a NIHR scholarship to complete my masters in clinical research and subsequently £10,000 research grant from health education England to write a PhD proposal. I decided that I would use some of the money to attend the ‘Living well with Dementia’ course at BU. It was great being back at my old uni and networking with the staff and students. It was such a positive experience that I decided to pursue my PhD at BU and was successful in my application for the first clinical academic studentship between BU and Bournemouth Hospital.

I’m now in my second year of my PhD and have a great team of supervisors and postgraduate students to support me. Everyone really looks out for each other and there are so many resources to support postgraduate study. The humanising way that BU treat their students is one of the universities greatest assets and I am really enjoying my time here again where it all started.


Chantel, current PhD student
Faculty of Health & Social Science


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