John Baker

John gained his doctorate at the University of Manchester before becoming a lecturer at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work in the University of Manchester.

"My clinical background is mental health nursing – I am a qualified mental health nurse with a nursing degree, an MSc and an MPhil. I had been employed by the University of Manchester as a lecturer for a year before being awarded a prestigious fellowship to undertake my doctorate. Before that I was employed as a clinical nurse specialist – I had been seconded to the university in this role to work on research projects and teach student nurses for a number of years.

"After my doctorate I returned to being a lecturer. My role involves teaching, university administration and research.

"The doctorate has been pivotal in developing my academic career, as a result of my expertise in this area and collaborations I have started. My advice would be to identify a topic which is interesting and stimulating, something which you might consider researching beyond your doctorate. Choose your supervisors carefully, they are key to the process. It is more than just their knowledge – you need to be able to work closely with them, argue with them, and be motivated by them. At times, they can also help you with networking.

"You also need to develop skills in disseminating your findings, understanding the policy context of your research, learning how to write and review grants, and a variety of leadership styles."