As I approached the end of my training in 2012, I wasn’t sure whether to focus my career on research, or to pursue clinical practice. I found both aspects equally appealing. Fortunately, UHS’s clinical academic programme gave me the opportunity to become a clinical academic doctoral fellow, which meant I could pursue a career that combined both research and clinical work.
From 2012 to 2016 I worked two days a week in clinical practice as a staff nurse and a clinical practice educator whilst dedicating three days a week to research activity as a PhD student at the University of Southampton (UoS). My clinical practice experience during these four years included working in the Acute Medical Unit (AMU), a Gastroenterology, Renal and Hepatology ward, and Division B education team.
As of October 2016 I joined the Infection Prevention Team at UHS as a full time Charge Nurse. As part of supporting my PhD studies the team has allocated weekly study times so that I can write up my final thesis.
The mentoring and training that I receive from the University is helping me to develop the knowledge that I need to be an effective contributor to the wider research community. UHS’s preceptorship programme and clinical mentoring in the different clinical environments that I have worked has enabled me to hone my clinical skills, ensuring that I provide safe and high quality care. The current support that I am receiving in the Infection Prevention Team is helping me develop the essential skills and knowledge that I require to become an Infection Prevention Practitioner.
I don’t know of many places that would have given me the unique combination of career development opportunities that UHS has, or that would have supported me to become the kind of clinician (clinical academic) that I want to be.