Reflections of a novice researcher

In 2016, I fortunate enough to be invited by Fiona Bogossian to join the ESS Collaborative Group  as an associate collaborator. I was excited and very nervous at the thought of carrying out some research with a group of very experienced researchers.

I teach into the Graduate Entry Masters (GEM) program which is a truncated pathway of four semesters leading to nurse registration. Coming from the clinical environment, I realise the value of ensuring nursing students move beyond competency to reflect on their practice and so develop the capability to effectively manage unfamiliar situations in the clinical environment. With the GEM students, the acquisition of these skills and the development of self-confidence, competence and applied knowledge must be achieved more rapidly.

I wanted to extend my research skills beyond the topic and focus of my PhD and it was challenging to scope a research project that could improve the application of theory to the development of practical skills in real-world situations for the GEM students. Scoping was an issue for myself as I had to determine what exactly I wanted to investigate in my project and what was feasible within the timeframe. My conversations with Fiona helped to frame my project and gave me a ‘reality check’ about what was feasible. These discussions led to meeting Amal Al-Ghareeb whose PhD research (supervised by Simon Cooper and Lisa McKenna) included a survey instrument which she consented for me to use in my project.

As a novice researcher, I was challenged and stimulated by the actual process of setting up and conducting my own research project. The meetings we have had as ESS Collaborative group provided the opportunity to gain insights into how the other group members were conducting their research. The ESS Collaborative provides me with the opportunity  to discuss ideas and gain valuable advice and network with experienced researchers from all over Australia.