Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.
Hello from the other side – Alumni Series: Catherine Clarissa (Clarissa)

Hello from the other side – Alumni Series: Catherine Clarissa (Clarissa)

We love hearing about the post-PhD careers of the PGRs of the School of Health in Social Science. So it’s time to celebrate the diversity of post-PhD careers and inspire our current PGRs. Join us as we move to the fourth part* of our new blog series, Hello from the Other Side – Alumni Series, with an interview with Catherine Clarissa (Clarissa).

What programme did you complete and in what year?  

PhD in Nursing Studies, 2021

What are you doing now, job, role, etc.? Where are you based?

Lecturer in Nursing (Life Sciences)/Research Fellow for the YARNS Transitions Project at the University of Edinburgh. I’m based in Edinburgh.

What drew you to that role? Was this part of your initial plan?

No, it was not my plan. I thought I would pursue a purely research job as at that time I had not obtained my nursing registration with the NMC, which is a requirement for becoming a nurse lecturer. After I started the process of getting registered, I began exploring lecturer opportunities since lecturer positions often offer permanent (open-ended) contracts, which appealed to me for stability.

At present, I spend two days of the work week teaching and three days doing research. Having a research fellow post alongside my lectureship really provides me with protected time for research. This is something that I greatly appreciate because my current roles offer me a blend of teaching and research, which is quite nice.

What specific knowledge or skills that you acquired during your PhD do you feel best prepared you for your post-PhD career?

The research knowledge and skills developed throughout my PhD experience, along with my teaching experience as a postgraduate tutor, and the research intern/assistant roles I had during my PhD studies.

What have been the most unexpected challenges you have faced in your career since completing your PhD?

Navigating the process of writing and submitting grant applications to various funders (different funders have varying forms and requirements!) and also balancing my teaching and research workload.

On the flip side, what are the most rewarding aspects of your career after PhD?

Seeing my students flourish throughout the years and graduate is very rewarding. On the research side, working with experts by experience (usually known as service users) in the YARNS Transitions project is very inspiring, as they wholeheartedly commit to making meaningful contributions. Last but not least, I’m incredibly grateful to be part of the Nursing Studies Team, who always support each other, especially early career lecturers/researchers like myself, helping us grow. Their immense support has motivated me to pay it forward to my students or any aspiring researchers I work with.

What advice would you give to PhD students who are preparing for their post-PhD life?

I’ve had so many people supporting me from the completion of my PhD to where I am now. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your support networks or mentors for advice. Be prepared for rejection. It can be painful, but it’s not a reflection of your worth.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your life after PhD?

Enjoy your PhD journey, as it’s a time when you can truly steer the direction of your studies towards your interests. Post PhD work often involves teamwork, thus offering a different experience as it requires balancing the interests and expectations of different people, collaborators, funders, etc. That’s why your PhD journey is so unique and special. Embrace and cherish every moment of it!

*Make sure to check the rest of the interviews in the Hello from the Other Side – Alumni Series here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.