Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Imogen Skene - My pandemic experience

Imogen discusses her experience of working through a PhD during the pandemic

Imogen Skene is a second-year PhD student based at Queen Mary University of London. She spoke to us about juggling her time in the Emergency Department during the first wave with her PhD studies. Watch her video and read her interview.

Video: Imogen Skene - My pandemic experience
Imogen Skene discusses her experience of studying through the pandemic
Headshot of Imogen Skene

How have you managed your time during the pandemic?

I met the Centre student cohort at the PhD Induction event held in Swansea in February 2020, just before I was due to start my PhD, which was a great opportunity to meet everyone who had recently started. I had always planned to continue my clinical role as a research nurse in the NHS, part-time as I started my PhD. However, with the COVID wave hitting, I stayed on as a COVID-19 Research Team leader in my hospital to assist with the delivery of NIHR Urgent Priority Studies (such as the Recovery trial). As the first wave of COVID subsided, I reverted to continue my PhD full time.

The pandemic meant that starting my PhD life was entirely home-based and online - so I started out by reaching out to the students I’d met at the induction event to find out how they structured their time when they started and how they were progressing with their projects.

A typical week will include a catch up with my supervisors (either a planned supervision or emails for advice), working through my PhD to-do list jobs – reading papers, data extraction for my review, writing, as well as attending journals club or PhD student meetings. I also have a shift at the hospital once a week in my role as a research nurse in the emergency department. I make sure I head out for a walk every day while I’m working from home.

Have you had to change your PhD significantly?

As I started during the pandemic, it meant I was able to plan my PhD project around the potential challenges that could occur from the pandemic continuing.

We have always been a virtual Centre – has this year helped or hindered that?

In a way, the silver lining of the pandemic has meant that as a student group, we may have become more connected. The change of working to use MS Teams etc, as a normal part of life, means we are able to regularly connect for webinars and journal clubs across the Centre affiliated universities. 

See Imogen's PhD Profile

Imogen's study is now open for recruitment - find out if you could participate.

Exploring the beliefs and behaviours of people with asthma who attend the emergency department