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The University of Southampton
Health SciencesPostgraduate study

Nadine Botha MPhil/PhD

First year NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

Nadine Botha's Photo

Hi, I'm Nadine Botha and I am studying MPhil/PhD at Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I am supervised by Professors which places me in an advantaged position to encourage and assist me in becoming a Clinical Academic Leader.

I’m a physiotherapist, and I had been working for about ten years before I decided that I wanted to combine research and clinical practice. I completed a Masters' degree in research and received government funding for a studentship through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to do that. I then went to undertake an internship, continued my project, and now I’m doing my PhD through the NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Scheme, whilst still working at Solent NHS Trust.

The Masters in Research I undertook was a really good grounding for me to start the PhD. Because I had been in practice for a decade, some of my academic/research skills were a little rusty. Also, for most people who start the PhD it normally takes around a year to begin to apply for ethics. However, I am only four months into my PhD and I can already tackle this stage because my application for the Fellowship allowed me to lay the groundwork for my ethics proposal prior to starting the programme. Therefore the Fellowship scheme is definitely worth considering too.

I live in Southampton so I did some background research on the University of Southampton and discovered that it has a very good research reputation. It also has very good links with my Trust, Solent NHS Trust, where I’m following a clinical academic career pathway. Therefore I decided that it was very advantageous for me to do my Masters here. Moving through that and onto my PhD, it was similarly advantageous to stick with the University. It’s a really good learning environment, very supportive, and the people here know how to get the best out of a student.

Because I’m part of the Fellowship scheme I can work in clinical practice whilst also working in academia and research. That means I’m not losing any clinical skills and can work on my research career at the same time. It’s all about bridging that gap between clinical practice and academia. I am also part of the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sports, Exercise and Osteoarthritis allowing me to collaborate with international researchers and work with an interdisciplinary team of medics and engineers.

The benefit of being in the Fellowship scheme, having the support of the University and working so closely with Solent NHS Trust is that I can steer my career in the direction of a clinical lectureship. This will entail me doing 50 per cent clinical work, alongside research and also leadership work, to analyse and challenge practice in order to improve services and advance my profession. My ultimate goal is to become a Clinical Academic Leader to drive improvements locally and nationally, while inspiring change within organisations to increase the generation, capacity and implementation of research within practice.


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