Month: September 2017

Getting a Scholarship for Postgraduate Palliative Care

Hi, I’m Lisa. I am completing the second year of my part-time MSc in Palliative Care at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London, supported by the Professor Rob Buckman Scholarship.

Having enjoyed my experience so far of palliative care research, I am keen to progress towards a PhD. However, with limited funding within this field making PhD opportunities highly competitive, I knew I would need to complete a Master’s-level qualification first. This would be essential to not only progress my research skills, but also broaden my knowledge of the full spectrum of palliative care from biology and symptom management, to service organisation and epidemiology.

I was excited when I saw the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to complete a Palliative Care MSc, with a research focus on psychosocial issues and communication, advertised on the King’s College London website. I have a background in psychology and at the time I was conducting work around communication skills training in palliative care –  it therefore seemed like a perfect opportunity to help me pursue my research interests.

I updated my CV, wrote a personal statement about my background and research interests, obtained a letter of support from my supervisor at the time, and submitted these to the team running the MSc. A few weeks later, I was delighted to hear I’d been awarded the Professor Rob Buckman Scholarship via Cicely Saunders International to support my studies part-time from 2016 to 2018.

This scholarship has enabled me to complete my MSc part-time alongside my research role, and will support me with the costs of publishing an academic paper based on the results of my MSc research. Neither of these things would have been possible without financial assistance. I’ve benefitted from not only the course content, but also the teaching expertise and student diversity seen across the educational programs at King’s College London. Learning from and with people with such a variety of expertise and backgrounds is for me one of the most enjoyable parts of my Palliative Care MSc.

The number and types of scholarships available for the MSc Palliative Care vary from year to year, so it’s always worth checking on the King’s College London website. This year for example a scholarship supported by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust is available for prospective students who have been working in palliative care in Africa. If you find a scholarship you are eligible for, I encourage you to apply. Best of luck!

Some tips before you embark on your degree

So you’ve put in all the hard work and now you’re finally here at King’s College London! I have just finished my degree and it has been an amazing and enriching three years from the start to the finish. I can understand that it can be both an exciting and daunting experience waiting to start university. It’s a big place and sometimes you can feel like a little person lost and overwhelmed by it all. Here are some tips to help you get started and, I hope, ease your nerves.

Moving in to halls…
Moving in day was an anxious one for me and I remember having butterflies in my stomach. This is a big step for everyone and you are not alone in feeling nervous. Use moving in day as an opportunity to get to know the people you will be living with as these will be the people you will spend most of your time with during welcome week.

Healthcare students are often placed in the same accommodation as each other. Trust me – this helps as your flatmates will understand your crazy schedule and will keep the noise down after you’ve worked a night shift.

Tips: When unpacking, leave your door open with a doorstop. This will show that you are open to conversations and will make you more approachable to your new flatmates. Go to your accommodation’s events during welcome week and find out about the different people in your building. You may even find people on the same course as you. For me, this event is where I met my friends for life.

Commuting from home…
Many of my friends lived at home or in private accommodation during their time at university, but mentioned to me they felt worried about making friends and fitting in. Three years on this clearly wasn’t an issue, and they told me their top tips…

Tips: Join as many societies as your studies (and commute) can handle. This will be a great tool to meet people both on and off your course. It can also help you discover interests you didn’t know about.

First week of university…
Firstly, ensure you are properly enrolled and you have collected your uniform for when you’re on shift. This is your last chance to ensure your DBS, compliance documents and vaccinations are up-to-date too. It really helps if you go to all your inductions so you find out how best to use the IT facilities, the library and the student support services you might not yet know about.

Be sure to get involved in as many freshers’ week activities as possible. Take the opportunity to see the KCLSU and find out with societies or events you may like. This is the easiest way to find people you can related to – something that can be difficult to do when there are so many people around so really take advantage of this.

Tips: Enjoy being a fresher and making memories that will last a lifetime. Step outside of your comfort zone and try the things you wouldn’t normally do – you never know who you’ll meet or what fun things you learn about yourself.

I wish you the best of luck!

Deborah recently graduated with a BSc in Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.