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The University of Southampton
Health SciencesPostgraduate study

Tracey Davies PhD first year, 2016

PhD student

Tracey Davies's Photo

Hi, I'm Tracey Davies and I studied PhD first year within Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.

My initial postgraduate diploma prepared me extremely well for clinical practice but putting on that Band 5 uniform, and taking on all the responsibility that goes with it, is another dimension all together!

It was after a trip to Africa with the charity I worked for that I made the decision to change career. I loved my previous job but felt I would really be able to make a difference to people's lives as a nurse, particularly in Africa.

I chose to study at Southampton because the University really cared about developing me as a person as well as developing my career.  The academics here have immense experience which is incredibly beneficial to my learning.

Before beginning my PhD I took a two year postgraduate diploma in adult nursing here where I undertook an Erasmus work placement at a neonatal unit in Denmark.  It was during this experience that I realised this was the area I wanted to specialise in and further my studies.

Opportunities for dual role clinical/research PhDs are rare but also incredible for furthering your knowledge, so when this opportunity came up, I just knew I had to go for it.

My lecturers have been really inspiring and by furthering my studies here I can continue to work alongside them, benefitting from their extraordinary experience and knowledge.

The first six months of my PhD is purely clinical where I'm working full time in a neonatal unit.  This is my first job as a nurse, and I have moments where I'm daunted by the responsibility of the task, but I'm incredibly supported and the job is undoubtedly rewarding. 

When I begin my PhD research I'll need to learn a whole new discipline of micro biology and how to use a microscope! But despite embarking on so many ‘firsts' I would encourage anyone to change career if it's something you really want to do and are passionate about - it's worked for me.

My long term goal is to return to Africa and make a real difference. Going back there with specific expertise I hope will open up many more doors and I'll be able to make much more of an impact.

In her spare time Tracey has jointly set up a charity @THEYareAfrica to support young people in Africa to realise their dreams and potential by helping them in their education.

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