Today, I have invited Katrina Whittingham to the “How I Work” series. Katrina is a lecturer in Nursing, who moved into academia in 2010, following a long career in the National Health Service. She began my nursing carer in 1987, as a student nurse in Glasgow, upon qualification in 1991 worked in Ayrshire and Arran Healthboard. Then in 1992 she moved to Aberdeen, and works as a Staff Nurse, Senior Staff Nurse and Acting Ward Manager, always in acute ward settings. Following the birth of her first child in 1995 she moved into a Development Nurse role, in NHS, where education in practice was her focus. She went onto a Clinical Nurse Specialist role in Wound Care in 1996 – 2001, there she had trust wide responsibility for Wound Care teaching, she carried her own caseload of patients with complicated wounds and became actively involved in research & audit. Following the birth of her second child in 2001, she moved into a Professional & Practice Development Facilitator role, responsibility for nursing auxiliary development, then returned to nursing practice and the HNC route to nurse education. In this role she completed her teaching qualification and Masters degree(and had a 3rd child!). Then in 2010 she moved to Robert Gordon University as a Lecturer, and has gained under and post graduate experience in this role. She has presented and published. She started her doctorate in October 2014 and hopes to be finished by 2020 at the latest.
Current Job: I work 28 hours per week, 0.8 whole time equivalent as a Lecturer in Nursing at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. I am in Year 2 of a taught Doctorate in Professional Practice at my employing university. I receive 1 day a week pro rata study leave for my research. The rest of my studies are completed in my own time.
Current Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Current mobile device: Nokia Lumia 920
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
My research plan is to explore the essence of person centred care from patients family and staff perspectives using interpretative phenomenological analysis.
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
A PC/laptop, windows applications. Internet access to access literature.
What does your workspace setup look like?
I have a fixed workspace set up for my lecturing (prep)work, but I go to other places to do my research work as I don’t get peace to focus on my research at my desk. I work at home, university library , but mostly the university sports centre café! I like that I can stand or sit to work there, the desk is at a higher height and I have a back problem. Also, I like that I can have access to coffee and food! I also like a little bit of background noise, but public invisibility; I am in a public place that no-one expects me to be.
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Have a plan for your time, so you make best use of it and focus. This helps avoid procrastination!
How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
I review my plan at the start of each day of studying, these days might be 2 weeks apart at times. I have a to do list of tasks for each day. I don’t always get through everything and these move, but at least then I don’t lose things.
Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
I only use phone and computer.
Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
Creativity to think out of the box and passion for the topics I teach.
What do you listen to when you work?
Sometimes in the Sports Centre just the buzz of people around me. Other times music, Paolo Nutini, Robbie Williams, Scissor Sisters, Deacon Blue and other 80/90’s music!
What are you currently reading?
I have just finished Clan of the Cave Bear, I read before I sleep at night or while travelling.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
I am more extrovert in general, so like to collaborate with others on projects, prefer being part of a team than a lone worker. However, at times when I have lone responsibility I really enjoy personalising the learning materials with my own creative way of teaching. I do prefer active learning with student participation , I think because that is part of my extrovert personality.
What’s your sleep routine like?
It is okay. I am very busy work/study just now, so need Horlicks most nights to help calm my head before bed; then I usually sleep about 7 hours.
What’s your work routine like?
Hectic! Always chasing completion of tasks just in time to meet deadlines, juggling between work/study and family . However, I usually 99% of the time get done what needs done is a high quality way.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
If you are given wings, fly! Don’t sit flapping on a fence!