2016 MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health

Sinead Cook, from Cardiff, is a MSc Sexual and Reproductive Health graduate from the Institute for Global Health & Development. Sinead initially attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2010. She then worked as a junior doctor in Glasgow before starting six years of specialty training in Community Sexual and Reproductive Health in Cardiff.

Sinead chose to study global Sexual and Reproductive Health at QMU in 2015 as she was keen to explore this area of research beyond the UK and help steer her career in the direction of international work in the future.

Studying Global Health & Development at QMU

I’d taken a year out of my work and training as a sabbatical to do the MSc and self-funded it through personal savings. I also worked part time as a locum doctor in Sexual and Reproductive Health in Edinburgh whilst studying at QMU. Although the academic workload was fairly demanding, it was possible to work a few shifts, particularly in the evenings.

Happily, the hard work into my research project paid off, and not only did I gain a distinction for my MSc, my research into post-abortion care has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Health Policy and Planning. I feel that studying within the Institute for Global Health & Development at QMU has made me a better researcher, particularly in qualitative research. The experience has also given me a better understanding of broader health systems issues, which I feel I have taken forward in my career.”

Life after graduation

Immediately after completing the MSc I went back into my specialty training programme in Cardiff. However, thanks to my MSc, I’ve had many more opportunities to take part in global health projects, teaching and research. ’ve lectured on Cardiff University’s Epidemiology BSc Global Health module and I have also been involved in bidding for funding for a research project into local abortion care and a few small research and audit projects.

Most significantly, due to my MSc and clinical experience, I was invited to be part of a variety of global health projects through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH).

After Graduation

I gained a lot of clinical experience working in acute medical admissions, rehabilitation and urology at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. I then decided to continue developing my knowledge and I went back to QMU in 2007 to study MSc Nursing over three years. It was hard doing that whilst working, but I felt that my practice matured as I progressed through the course.

At this point I was working as a urology nurse specialist at the Western General Hospital and the MSc positively influenced my clinical decision making, critical thinking, case management and professional approach.

I made another career change in 2010, when I went to work in the oil and gas sector as an offshore medic for Centrica in the East Irish Sea. It’s an autonomous job where healthcare is delivered in a hostile environment to a population with unique needs. It’s been a fantastic experience for me and I’m fortunate to work for a company which has recognised my academic ambition and has given me the training and development to have a new role as the offshore health, safety and environmental advisor.

I’m currently undertaking a BSc in Occupational Health at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. I expect to complete this in 2017, and then it is my intention to study another MSc in Safety and Risk Management at Heriot Watt University. I also have a long-term ambition to undertake a PhD, which will examine the relationship between workplace culture and process safety.

QMU has given me a thirst for life-long learning. I‘ve had a wonderful career which wouldn’t have been possible without having a firm academic basis, confidence and ambition that I gained from my undergraduate years.”

Sexual and Reproductive Health

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