Here is the final installment on this blog series. In the last blog entry I realised that the greatest impact of this Doctorate on me personally did not feature in the year 2 marked portfolio. My instinct is it is probably too personal and there were no references that would support my thoughts and feelings. So I have included it here at the end as it is my “lived reality”.
PART 3b: IMPACT ON SELF
Learning- it never ends
As identified in a reflective blog entry written after a frustrating group meeting where I used the word “philosophy” in the wrong context I need to expand my research discourse so as to competently argue a case and challenge assumptions. Scott et al (2004) describe this as an enrichment of skills and knowledge to perform at a higher level. It is difficult to ascertain if pursuing this level of study has impacted on the way I listen, speak and write. The reason for this according to Burgess and Wellington (2010) is this personal development could be linked to professional development within my promoted role as Associate Head of Department for Allied Health Professions. Hence it can be argued both are intertwined rather than being separate. Nonetheless in preparation for the final viva this requires further development.
Viewed by colleagues
This is difficult to measure. Participants interviewed by Burgess and Welligton (2010) describe this as being asked for opinions on pedagogy, submitting bids for funding and evaluating proposals made by others. Also listed is participation in cross-faculty discussion groups and discussions. The challenge for my area of research is it does not align with my employer’s research vison at a Departmental, Faculty or University level. Nevertheless, undertaking doctoral level studies and undertaking a skills analysis as part of the portfolio has acted as a benchmark of the level of skills I already possess and this has acted as a confidence boost. Subsequently for the 2017/2018 academic year I have put myself forward to supervise master’s level thesis within the allied health professions department at UWE. Furthermore I have accepted an invitation from a colleague working in another field to contribute to a regional workshop being held in the autumn which is seeking to develop a framework to support “Digital health technology evaluation”.
I am also learning how to bid for research time so as to balance (almost) full-time working and part time study. The Gantt chart provided in the project planning document includes key funding calls made by UWE and also the Society and College of Radiographers up until the end of the doctorate. For year two of the programme (2016/2017) I secured two weeks protected study time to concentrate on research via an annual internally funded bid process run by my employer. With this experience I applied through the 2017/2018 bidding cycle and have secured 5 weeks of research time. The bid was reviewed by a committee who deemed the proposal worthy of research time despite the research topic not directly aligning to the UWE University, faculty or departmental research strategy 2020.
Managing an SpLD
This has been an unforeseen impact on self and the last eighteen months have required me to revisit the challenges having a specific learning difficulty pose and my relationship with having dyslexia. Unlike research in the field of undergraduate healthcare learners with dyslexia, there is a notable lack of literature on the lived experiences of doctorate learners with dyslexia. Of the literature that does exist emphasis is placed on the importance of the supervisor and supervisee working relationship (Collins, 2015). There is a consensus that there needs to be regular communication, a willingness to listen and flexibility in the system. Likewise there is a need for myself as a learner to be proactive in identifying personal learning needs and to articulate these clearly (St. John-Matthews, Pace and Vogan-McCabe, 2016).
What is the COST of this Doctorate?
Although I self-fund my Doctorate fees, this is not about monetary cost. Both my husband and I lost our Mums in their early forty’s. Our experiences of this type of loss are so very different yet common ground is how important family is to both of us. This has been heightened since our little man arrived in 2012. The hardest decision for me in pursuing a Doctorate is not whether I was bright enough, I could afford it or had the drive to do this but the compromises on family time. If anything happened to me or my husband would my son’s memories be of me locked away in a study stressed out trying to juggle work and study? Likewise would I miss out on key milestones and events? This might sound a bit dramatic but with a target date of 2021 I will be 41 when I complete. Both Mums did not make it to 45. Hence when deciding to do this Doctorate it was a family decision and we have all made compromises to make this work. (Although my husband treated himself to a new motorbike as part of the agreement- not sure how that one worked!)
I work a 0.9 full time equivalent so Thursday can be “mummy school drop off and pick up” day. I am on a six year doctorate programme so this is somewhat manageable. (Just in case I get asked again why I am taking so long). I have chosen a study route that suits me personally- a practice focused professional doctorate. (No this is not a second rate Doctorate qualification- it is just different). After two years of thinking my protocol is in place and I am really excited about my subject area and the positive impact my work will make on my field, my practice and my family.
*From my study I can see a path over a river. So for perspective four I have taken a picture of what people who walk along this path see of my office. Interesting to note that I can see the path but my office window at ground level is not visible.
- Burgess, H., & Wellington, J. (2010). Exploring the impact of the professional doctorate on students’ professional practice and personal development: Early indications. Work Based Learning E-Journal, 1(1), 160–176. Retrieved from: http://wblearning-ejournal.com/archive/10-10-10/1013%20rtb.pdf
- Scott, D., Brown, A., Lunt, L., & Thorne, L (2004) Professional doctorates, integrating professional and academic knowledge. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
- St. John-Matthews, J., Pace, K. and Vogan, C. (2016) Supporting radiography learners with dyslexia during clinical placement. Imaging & Therapy Practice. Retrieved from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/29749