“A work of art …or just dipping my toes in the water


A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament”
Oscar Wilde

I’m not quite sure why I started with this quote for my first blog but I love Oscar Wilde’s aphorisms. Do I think I am producing a work of art I ask myself? Do I have the unique temperament to produce work here and then make it visible to others?  This is a conundrum that I will have to grapple with as I force myself to create something that I am proud of, has some resonance with what I want to talk about and at the final hurdle can be made public. I follow the @thesiswhisperer and I love her writing. It is accessible, informative and encouraging and I suppose it has made me consider that I too have a voice that may be accessble to others. Partly the reason for creating this blog space is that I am also attempting to undertake a PhD by publication. When I say attempting I have been thwarted in my attempts to pursue a research PhD over the past few years, not that I am making excuses, I am a grown up, and I consider myself fairly assertive so who is indeed thwarting my attempts. However, many friends and work colleagues suggest that maybe I work harder at work in order to sabotage my study at Phd and so perhaps the answer to that question lies within and at some point I am going to have find the answer? I commenced Phd studies in September 2007 excited and scared and anxious and all those other words that spring to mind. The following January  2008 I took on the role of Student Experience Lead for the School of Nursing. I was in need of a change and I also wanted a challenge, what………. a PhD is not challenging enough you cry.  But the gauntlet was well and truly thrown down and my research proposal began to take shape, I met regularly with my supervisor. We liked each other I like to think.  I respected and admired her philosophy on life, education, work, women in Higher Education, I could go on.  Then catastrophe, she got a new job at another University and consequently she chose to move, and she needed this new phase in her life to begin quickly, it wasn’t anything to do with me I hasten to add I’m absolutely sure.  But I also became resigned to moving on,  some time later I was nominated a new supervisor. We discussed and explored themes of interest especially in relation to children and young people, and I changed topic and I thought we were starting again.  Little did I realise that the PhD clock was still ticking from when I had begun and 5 years would quickly pass. Doing a Phd is hard, and doing a PhD as a part time student is particularly hard. Juggling 2 roles at work was also incredibly difficult, and in 2010 my beloved Mother died.  I took another year out, the clock continued to tick. In 2011 I resumed my study and passed my interin assessment, another goal achieved. I prepared my research proposal but I had not made life easy for myself and having chosen a ‘hard to reach group of  young people’ there were, quite rightly, a number of questions that the panel required greater clarification about. This leads me to the present situation, throughout this time my current supervisor has been incredibly supportive but is constrained by the University systems and processes.  Therefore, to release some of the stress and pressure I was under, we decided to call a halt to the study and I have transferred to the PhD by publication route. I feel happier but strangely more focused and maybe this is just what I needed in terms of  some thinking time. The journey continues it is painful but I like to think that one day I might just produce what I would call my own ‘work of art’


About mmcloughlin2013
I am a Senior Lecturer in a University School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. I had a lead role for over 8 years which was related to student experience and something I really enjoyed doing. I was also a children's nurse for 20 years working prior to coming into Higher Education, working in a diverse range of practice settings, including, theatre, paediatric intensive care, neonatal intensive care, district general nursing and latterly, before moving into nurse education setting up and working as a job-sharing senior Sister in nephro-urology/renal nursing.

3 Responses to “A work of art …or just dipping my toes in the water

  1. Bernadette Burns says:

    Hi Moira you have obviously engaged in some serious reflection and identified the major difficulties of undertaking a PhD whilst working full time in a very demanding role. I think if you are to gain your PhD through publication you need to set aside some serious time for reading and analysing the literature. You are one of the most willing people I know but I think you need to take a step back and review your current workload and delegate some of your work to your colleagues. In one way this could provide developmental opportunities for other members of the team whilst freeing up some key time to develop your articles. Anyway enjoyed your blog keep smiling you are like a ray of sunshine. Good luck Bernadette

  2. nurse4life says:

    Well done Moira on blog number one! I hope it’s the first of many, and I’m grateful that you encouraged and inspired me to make the effort too. Good luck with your PhD – it is indeed hard work, whichever route you take, but now you have a ‘new improved’ plan I’m sure you’ll get there. Look forward to hearing more instalments. Lynne :O)

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