Celine Lewis – PhD in Health Psychology graduate

Year of graduation: 2011

Current employer: Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust

Current job title: Senior Social Scientist

Current location: London

Celine talks to us about the research she completed at Plymouth University. 

What was the title of your research project?

It’s a bit of a tongue twister... The Effect of Psychosocial Information Resources on the Psychological Impact of Genetic Testing for Patients.  It explored patients’ experiences of having genetic testing and developing an information leaflet to support them through that process.

What was the most exciting element of your project?

I’m quite a nosey person and like speaking to people about their attitudes and experiences, so conducting interviews was probably the bit I liked the most!

What was the most exciting outcome of your project?

One aspect of my research was speaking with parents who were searching for a diagnosis for their child. I was trying to understand more about the hoops they had to jump through as they did not have a name for their child’s condition. Some of the findings from this work were used in an application to the National Lottery to set up a support group for parents in this situation (SWAN UK). It was lovely to have something tangible and positive come out of the academic research.

Tell us what you have been doing since completing your research.

I recently worked on a study looking at women’s views towards a new non-invasive prenatal test for Down’s Syndrome. We wrote a report to the National Screening Committee which has had an impact on how this new test is going to be offered in clinical practice. So that has been quite exciting.  

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Get your PhD research published in academic journals. Employers will want evidence that you can conduct high quality research that is well written and gets published.

How did your time at Plymouth University help you?

I had support from some excellent supervisors at Plymouth University to whom I am eternally grateful. They made the experience of conducting a PhD a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Would you recommend undertaking research at Plymouth University, and why?

Yes. Even though I conducted my PhD remotely, there were a number of useful courses to which I had access. I also met a number of other PhD students through my supervisors with whom it was useful to discuss my research.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Make the most of all the courses that are available to you through the University. Once you are in the work environment you either have to pay for them or apply for funding. Also, keep in touch with your supervisors! I found even after completing my PhD my supervisor was still someone I collaborated with professionally.

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