Progress with research is slow, and I am beginning to accept that. I don’t even mean the time it takes for research to be adopted into practice.  I’m talking about the work of creating and running a study all the way through publication of the results. Ideas come fast. Ideas have multiple possibilities.  But when the hard work of turning the idea into a legitimate study begins, pieces don’t always come together well. And sometimes they just come together slowly. Like the last 18 months…during which I began several projects that didn’t seem to be moving anywhere fast – and a dissertation that needs toRead More →

I’m a little behind, so you might have already seen this article from an obstetrician who accepted a challenge to stay in lithotomy position for an hour as part of the 2015 NHS Change Day. The easy thing (as a doula or midwife) when reading this article is to say, “Of course, I can’t believe you never thought about this.”  But remember it makes sense an OB might never think about this because her training focuses on mastering the skills she needs to save lives. When everyone around her during training accepts the practice as normal, useful, appropriate…she has little to no reason to questionRead More →

My students took their pathology final exam yesterday, which means I finally have a few moments to reflect on what I learned about concepts which are easily confused. When I studied as a nurse, I already had a degree in physiology.  This means I came into the program having already learned the basic biology, chemistry, and physics of normal human function.  Many of our students (and many direct entry midwifery students), don’t have a strong background in these sciences. I don’t know that I would call it a deficit…they certainly do not need the level of understanding I have to be successful.  But it does make understandingRead More →

Part of any PhD program is the requirement to teach. This seems normal when you consider in many disciplines a PhD is what qualifies you to teach at the college level.  It also seems normal when you consider that many PhD trained individuals will do research at academic centers and so have the dual role of adding to the common knowledge (research) and passing on that knowledge (teaching).  At my university they refer to this as scholarship, and include training in education as part of the PhD curriculum. I’ve completed all my coursework and moved into candidacy, which means I’ve completed my education training and canRead More →

My semester has ended, which is good because so many things on the website have been neglected during this round of classes.  For those who are new to the blog, I’ve just completed my second year in a PhD Program in Nursing.  The second year is a bit more intense.  In addition to classes I have the expectation that I will have a grant submitted for my dissertation research and my dissertation proposal accepted this summer.  I’m progressing well on both fronts, so no worries.  But I wanted to share a few reflections for those who have not yet begun their training. One of the reasonsRead More →

Last week my class performed a mock review of our class projects.  The class projects are sample grants we might submit to fund our research.  The writing process is challenging, with only a few pages to make your case, proving the topic is important, the study you’ve designed will answer the question, and you are the researcher to do this study. This is just part of the research process, and is so difficult that in addition to having several “authors” for any grant, the faculty and staff do mock reviews before they are submitted to identify additional changes.  Even then, a good “score” is stillRead More →

I am happy to say I have survived my first week of coursework. I am also happy to say that I am (so far) enjoying the coursework. I had fully expected the program to be rigorous – research can be difficult work.  I was not expecting the program to be so challenging to my understanding so quickly. Challenging? Yes.  I had in my mind a concept of research from my MPH, and I understood the parts of a study and how to put it together.  But I am getting the impression that is the work of a technician really.  A researcher starts several steps backRead More →

This week I have been sharing some of the harder lessons I had to learn to become a midwife.  The value of humility is perhaps the hardest one I faced. I thought I did approach birth with humility.  I believed I understood the process and knew that the best course of action was to let the labor take it’s course.  Yet, at the same time I failed to see how I approached birth with arrogance. When I would hear labor stories, I would decide for myself what doctors, midwives, doulas and mothers had done wrong despite not being present for the labor. I had answersRead More →

I’ve been ignoring you…sort of.  I had to get through my final exams and the the last week of school.  Then I was visiting family out of state which, despite my best intentions on every trip, is NOT a place for me to accomplish any work.  Admittedly, I have been home and without classes for two weeks. But something unexpected happened to me…I had to transition to non-student life. It wasn’t unexpected that I would need to transition, besides, I’ve done this a few times before.  The joke at our house is that I keep graduating because I’m good at it. What was unexpected, at least toRead More →