Emma Hainsworth - PhD Student & CRUK Senior Research Nurse

I currently work as the CRUK Senior Research Nurse based within the UCLH Cancer Clinical Trials Unit. I have been fortunate in that the job description was designed to include some protected time for the post holder to do a higher degree. I came to the role with the knowledge that I could undertake a research project as part of PhD and that the subject could be one of my choosing. It has felt slightly daunting but ultimately very exciting to have such free range in the choice of project and I decided upon a topic that was close to my heart and relevant to my nursing experience.

Having worked as a nurse in both HIV and Cancer I am interested in exploring the experience of HIV patients who receive treatment for Cancer. I will use qualitative research methods to find out what it means for patients to go through cancer treatment with this dual diagnosis and I intend to share initial findings with both patients and healthcare professionals in order to develop potential ideas for the improvement of services.

I registered to do a part-time PhD at UCL in September 2013. I have found supervisors and developed my question largely independently. This feels like a huge contrast to my role in trials where there is a great deal of structure and established process however, it has been very rewarding and I have learnt an enormous amount already. I have developed my protocol, obtained my ethics and R&D approvals and have started collecting data. It can be a challenge to balance work and large amounts of study and to feel confident enough to make all the decisions about your project yourself but ultimately I believe it is a process which builds resilience in all areas of your work.