Without my UOM mentors, I wouldn’t be where I am today

Sheena talks us through her amazing journey from graduating as a nurse, juggling full time work with a MClin and how she secured a prestigious PhD opportunity in Hong Kong. All of Sheena’s hard work has paid off and now, as she looks towards her exciting future, she still takes time to give thanks to the academics here at The University of Manchester for supporting her throughout.

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Pursuing a degree in nursing at the University of Manchester was the best decision I could have made- I have met lifelong mentors who have guided me in every aspect of my life.

In 2011, I graduated with a First class honours in Nursing and to top it off was awarded the best thesis award, titled “supporting children of a parent with cancer.” After graduation I was preparing myself to enter the workforce when Dr Carole Willard gifted me with her PhD thesis. That day was a big turning point in my life, she believed in my capabilities and that I will reach greater heights in my academic journey. That very day, I started believing in myself more.

Two weeks later, Prof Christine Brown Wilson contacted me and told me about the opportunity of further study with a master’s in Clinical Research at The University of Manchester. I applied for the master’s programme and was awarded a scholarship; I pursued my master’s as a part time student (distance learning option).

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In Singapore, I was a full-time nurse doing shift work alongside pursuing my master’s, balancing both of these things was one of the toughest things I have ever done. I found time to write my assignments and thesis after morning shifts (5-10pm), before afternoon shifts (8-11am) and during my night shift breaks at work( 2-4am) in the morning. Understanding my situation, Prof Gunn Grande and Dr Jane Griffiths rendered excellent support throughout. I did a phenomenology study as part of my Master’s study and Dr Jane would check on me via Skype once a month to ensure that everything was going OK and I was getting the support I needed.

After graduating from my master’s, I was given an opportunity to pursue a PhD in Hong Kong under a prestigious fellowship scheme. I am currently doing a PhD in Nursing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University where I am researching supporting stroke patients and their family members. My long- term career plan is to be a nurse educator and researcher in the University and to inspire young nurses to contribute to the nursing profession in terms of services and research. I hope to impart the importance of community health among newly trained student nurses so that they could visualize and appreciate the need, and care for older patients in the community. I hope to initiate research and collaborate with other researchers around the globe in the future.

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All my UOM professors- Dr Carole, Prof Wilson, Prof Gunn Grande, Dr Jane, and Prof Alex Molasiotis supported my decision and believed that I could ace this journey too. As the saying goes, ‘life is not a bed of roses’, I do face some challenges along the way. But with my UOM mentors support, I believe that I will be able to ace this journey and be successful like them.

Without my UOM mentors, I will not be where I am today! Thank you for encouraging me, believing in me, and guiding me. My success is yours😊


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