Posts about: Meet our Students

My experience at Salford

8 May 2018
Andreea Pausan

Andreea Pausan, ERASMUS +

Being in the right place at the right time sets the tone of the rest of the journey and for me, this happened at Salford.

My Phd journey started in October 2017, at the National School of Political and Administrative studies in Bucharest, Romania. Although post-graduate studies were not in plan, I have embraced the opportunity to learn how to do research and to bring my contribution to the betterment of higher education.  As trainer in a software company and part-time professor, my interests were life-long learning and in-service training for adults, as well as interactive and participative methods of teaching. Consequently, the focus pointed towards the way in which higher education should change in order to better respond to the participants’ needs and demands in the current connected information technology era.

I have arrived in Salford as an international exchange Erasmus student on a cold, rainy day at the end of January 2018.  Despite having some accumulated life, travel, and work experience, it is hard to put into words the feeling of going back to the university in a new city and in a different country.

I had been in Manchester some years back to enjoy a Cirque du Soleil performance. I remember having being riveted, among many other things, by the colours and magic of the show, by the great shopping at Trafford centre, and by the people queuing to get taxis in the mall parking lot. I did not expect to return on an extended stay near Manchester, as a guest at the University of Salford (UoS).

My first contact with the UoS was on email, and the Erasmus exchange staff sent me very useful and timely information: registration site, campus map, student askus link. After arriving to Salford, I was first impressed by the size of the campus and by how relaxed all the students seem to be. I had a student card ready, and received a user name and password for the system. I was pleased by the cleanliness of the place, by how organized everything was.

The library system was a shock: it was so easy (read user friendly) to take books out and return them by scanning them on a machine. The second shock was the language: everybody sounded competent, yet sympathetic, helpful, yet alien. I am not talking about being able to speak English, but about being able to talk research language, which is a completely different thing. On top of that, when living in a foreign country, the feeling is that of isolation and mystery, similar to being a passive participant in a film whose intrigue escapes immediate understanding. There is meaning, there is action, however there is also an empty space between the rest of participants and your grasp on reality. The community changes, taking away the familiar and bringing the unfamiliar, the insecure, the internal struggle.

It is interesting to live the very concepts you are studying: communities of practice (CoP).   At a certain point, I have realized that I can apply to living and learning in a different community terms like peripheral participation, boundary negotiation, nexus of multimembership, identity realignment: all part of the CoP framework.

I will use this terminology to describe the three months of my stay at Salford so far.

Although this is the first Erasmus exchange of this kind, I felt welcome and helped to integrate in the large student community, thus becoming a legitimate peripheral participant in both the Salford student community and the Phd community. My supervisor and the rest of the teachers I have met so far are passionate about students and learning, and provided helpful advice and access to make my stay both comfortable and productive.

Participation in different courses has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with other Phd students, as well as to learn about research methodology, theories and protocols, philosophical stances, different software and databases to help with research. Subsequently, I have developed my skills as a researcher and gained more confidence from the experiences shared with and by my fellow Phd students.

Furthermore, I have learned about means of transportation, places to eat, places to buy groceries from, all which are part of my new identity as a United Kingdom resident.  I am renegotiating my identity at the boundaries of several communities: student, researcher, citizen, worker, and so far it has been a satisfying experience.

It is exciting to know I can talk about my experience using social theory language. In layman terms, I love being here, I believe I am in the right place at the right time, and I would recommend this experience to other students. The environment at Salford is alive, filled with potential, with great support from the staff. Everything is available online and the classes are designed with a practical outcome in mind: they set the framework and create the conditions so students can write their thesis. The best part of this experience is meeting other students and learning about their cultures, their lives, their studies.

Andreea Pausan

National School of Political and Administrative studies in Bucharest 

Erasmus student @ School of Health & Society

The angel of mercy and the inspiring Salford University

9 February 2017

A blog post by Noura Almadani, PhD student at School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences

My personality has been shaped by my Islamic cultural background, values, ethical principles and beliefs that I carry with me throughout life. I spent my childhood on the northern border of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Tabouk), living in an intergenerational but small community that has powerfully influenced my life.

For me, nursing has become the ‘Angel of Mercy’.


Sabah’ experience of PhD at the University of Salford, Manchester, UK

13 November 2016
PhD experience

Sabah Ismile Alsomali PhD experience

I am Sabah Ismile Alsomali, PhD third year student at the University of Salford, School: Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work and Social Sciences.

My PhD First Year Experiences

I arrived in Manchester in September 2014, eager to begin my doctoral studies in a new country, as an international student from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I chose to travel to the UK for my degree to broaden my academic and personal horizons.


Salford student makes a difference

5 October 2016


This week three Ugandan healthcare professionals are arriving at the University of Salford on the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship programme. This is Euphrasia, our previous colleague, who has returned and made a profound impact. The health centre she works in (Kagote) had not delivered a baby for 16 years and it is now the best performing health centre in the District with deliveries increasing all the time.

Euphrasia is now able to contribute to teaching on their new midwifery degree supported by our charity and Salford staff. And now we are embarking on supporting another failing health centre. Kagote is the facility we choose to place Salford midwifery students in on placement so they get great support. If you are going over there look out for her smiling face!

Find out more about Knowledge4Change & University of Salford Knowledge and Place projects.



Criminology, prisons and the University of Salford

25 January 2016
Dr. Toni Wood

Dr. Toni Wood

I am Antonia (Toni) Wood and I have recently completed my Ph.D. titled: Challenging Occupational Norms: An Ethnographic Study of Female Prison Officers in a Women’s Prison.

Having gained a first class Honours degree in Criminology from Manchester Metropolitan University, I went on to gain further knowledge in the subject by completing the MRes in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies at The University of Manchester. Following a successful application and interview I took the role of Graduate Teaching Assistant (now known as Graduate Teaching Student) and embarked on my PhD journey under the guidance of Dr Elaine Crawley and Dr Muzammil Quraishi at the University of Salford. In summary, my PhD thesis was based upon an ethnographic exploration of female prison officers in a women’s prison in the North-West of England. The findings make contributions to debates around staff-prisoner relationships, mental illness in prison and gendered empathy.

My experience as a third and final year Ph.D. student

I have enjoyed the whole of my experience whilst at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Science. The facilities were outstanding, modern and welcoming and I appreciated my own desk space where I could prepare materials for classes I was teaching, or presentations I was due to deliver or generally just be in the presence of other students in a similar position to myself. Many of the students I shared an office with were international and predominantly undertaking research in nursing subjects. This in itself was interesting and made for some good intellectual conversations whilst offering each other support for the expected assessments and internal evaluations that you are expected to pass as a Ph.D. student at the University of Salford.

Research and opportunities

Here I was given the opportunity to present my research at the schools Celebrating Postgraduate Research Days, and to date I have presented at three of them. They have always proved useful and I always appreciated the comments and feedback given from other academic staff in the school.  Throughout this final stage of my Ph.D. journey I have had other opportunities to present my research and quite recently presented some of my findings to criminal justice practitioners at the Criminal Justice Showcase event organized by myself and the Salford Professional Development team.

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.39.09During the last year I have started to move content from the SUCPS website of which I was co-ordinator to a new Criminal Justice Hub to allow staff from the department of Criminology and Sociology to have a platform to showcase their research. I have assisted in delivering a workshop to bring academic researchers together from the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences and from across the wider university.  I am keen to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines and institutions in future research projects. My own research interests predominantly sit within the prison environment with a special interest in the health and wellbeing of both prisoners and prison officers.  These areas fit comfortably with a number of disciplines in the school of NWSWSS, for instance mental health, learning disabilities, midwifery and dementia.  Currently, I am developing an application for funding with colleagues from the department of Psychology and School of Law at the University of Salford to explore learning difficulties in two distinctly different prisons.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 20.32.05Throughout my time at the University of Salford I have been inspired by a number of colleagues and peers, and as a regular Tweeter I recently posted a photograph under the #InspireUoS of my current point of inspiration. My 13 year old son, who currently spends his life eating, sleeping and playing football (and constantly questions the nutritional value of meals I cook for him) has been given the opportunity to train with the Manchester City Football Academy U13 select team.

Toni Wood,

School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work & Social Sciences, University of Salford

Spreading the Midwifery Love

17 January 2016
Bev Jervis, PhD Student

Bev Jervis, PhD Student

At the moment I feel I have many midwifery hats……. Most of my time is spent doing my PhD, I am now in my third year of a full time course at the University of Salford. I am looking at knowledge acquisition around movement in labour from women’s, midwives and obstetricians perspectives and from this I am hoping to change the midwifery world!!! (Wish me luck, I am thinking it is going to be a long road!) I am also teaching midwifery at Salford on a graduate teaching studentship, a whole other learning journey about teaching and learning. I absolutely love it! I am also involved in a national midwifery charity. Sadly I haven’t done any clinical midwifery since 2014 due to time pressures but I had the opportunity to be a doula last summer which was truly amazing.

My research

For my PhD I am looking at movement during labour. For the literature review, I wanted to look at how this knowledge was put together. I did a critical review of literature reviews on movement and positioning during the first stage of labour and looked at how knowledge around movement and positioning was viewed, validated and put together from other sources.

From my perspective women’s movement and positioning during labour was a natural and normal part of normal birth, it was something available to most women who experienced labour, yet the reviews termed movement and positioning as an intervention. These reviews took a cause and effect approach, they aimed to quantify movement and the effect it had on reducing the length of time in labour. They failed to take into account other factors which impacted on the process of labour, did not justify why length of time in labour mattered and had maternal comfort as a minor outcome that movement had on the labour process. These were all from a very medical perspective yet these reviews and other which were similar in methodology were the main source of evidence and research which inform the NICE intrapartum guidelines.

arm glasto call the midwifeThis led me to question why quantitative, positivist, obstetric knowledge formed the basis of midwifery practice for normal birth and what sources of knowledge did women, midwives and obstetricians use in practice.

Midwifery knowledge

I then went on to review the midwifery knowledge around movement in labour. What I found was very different from the medical cause and effect perspective. From a historical perspective, the literature looked at how women had moved during birth in their homes supported by other women. As midwifery knowledge was documented, the physical process of birth is explored in the context of the woman and the fetus. Movement is something that women do during birth as part of the process and can be used antenatally and during labour to aid fetal alignment.

This was the information I was looking for to help women in clinical practice, I questioned if this was being used. Movement doesn’t have to have an outcome according to some of this literature but it is what women do spontaneously. But I questioned why this knowledge is absent from guidelines and good practice within many hospital labour wards.

Knowledge of physiology is deemed as expert opinion and therefore of low quality. Physiology is the basis for most midwifery knowledge. How can an understanding of how the body works, and using that knowledge be ‘low quality’ evidence? Does this mean that midwifery knowledge is not as worthy as RCT’s, systematic reviews, meta- analysis? Knowledge that is gained from working with women, observing birth and the moves that women make, knowledge of the physiology of birth which few obstetricians learn.

Midwives and women

I have now collected the data for my research from midwives and women and I am in the process of transcribing and analysing. I am beginning to identify how the midwives in the study gain knowledge around movement during birth and what barriers there are to implementing this knowledge.

Arm me glastoFrom the data gained from the women I have interviewed I am finding how women gain knowledge around movement during birth. Unsurprisingly, despite the huge amount of information available to women, midwives continue to be the main source of knowledge.

The 3rd year; the end is insight

I am loving my PhD journey, I love to study and I am really grateful that I have the opportunity to teach within the midwifery department. The biggest struggles for me have been the diminished contact with the outside world whilst cocooned in the library and the financial pressure going back to full time study has meant. But as 2016 emerges, so do my hopes and expectations for the fruition of my research, study, self-development and new opportunities this course has given me.

Bev Jervis, 

Ph.D. student,

School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work & Social Sciences, University of Salford.



Grounded but not yet settled-telling my refugee story

6 January 2016
A tale of 2 continents

A tale of 2 continents

From a tiny town in South-west Somalia to numerous African countries, I spent a great deal of my adult life on the move looking for a place to call home. In 2008, I arrived in Birmingham through refugee family reunion and soon joined Dialogue Direct (a fundraising agency) as a community fundraiser, a role I cherish to this day. I spent nearly two years working with Dialogue Direct and held several posts including fundraising supervisor. In the spring of 2010 and after failing to gain further promotion, I left my job and returned to education to pursue a career in social research.

At first, it was all but daunting-I did know much about higher education in the United Kingdom; it was completely a new experience and a new beginning for me but I dreamed of achieving good grades and graduating with good Honours degree.


The waltz goes on

13 December 2015

2006 – The beginning

Wearing traditional Romanian costume – 200 years old

In 2006 I stepped first on Salford grounds. It was a long journey having to deal with registration, games, prizes, new colleagues and tutors before I settled into life as a Salford Business School student. My head was buzzing, but what I often recall is one evening at work in a movie rental store in Curry Mile Manchester. Nothing unusual – computers switched on, clients around, and my friends, who came to keep me company. A couple interrupted the routine asking for a poster. I asked them to return in a week and they walked towards the front door. Suddenly the guy turned around and joyfully said: “I know you, I know you – you are Cristina from Romania. I know you from the University of Salford”.  My friends burst into laughter and ever since I remained ‘Cristina from Romania’ 🙂


Meet our Jeanne

30 November 2015

Dr Jeanne Lythgoe.jpgI have now been a Lecturer in Midwifery at Salford for 5 years after spending 30 years in practice. I really enjoy the challenges of teaching the next generation of midwives. In July this year I achieved my Professional Doctorate and still find it difficult to believe I have actually finished it! Being a doctorate student as a member of staff has been an interesting experience. I have found that the support of colleagues and supervisors has been invaluable, they have encouraged me to keep going, offered pearls of wisdom, even covering my work at crucial times. I cannot thank them all enough, particularly my supervisors.  I have to admit it is quite stressful knowing all your inevitable ups and downs are played out in full view of colleagues but overall I feel it would have been more difficult to achieve my doctorate had I been working in an environment where they did not appreciate the effort and stress involved in completing a PhD.


From Salford to Calais

25 October 2015

CQ0KY9hWEAEx0wCWe did it! We planned it, we organised it, and we got it spot on. However, not in 1 million years could we have imagined what we would find there.

Seven vans travelled in convoy. Key 103 accompanied us for some accurate reporting. Justin from key not only reported on what we were doing, but he rolled his sleeves up and was just amazing.

The journey to Folkestone was tiring but straightforward. Police checks were over the top, but we think we need to bear in mind the security of all people who pass through borders. Non the less there was a strong sense that we were being stalled.