Rachel Dominey seated on a couch and holding a notepad

Rachel's Professional Doctorate in Health Science allowed her to apply her research in a clinical setting while working for the NHS

3 min read

I secured my dream to undertake a doctorate whilst working; applying my academic skills in my workplace and utilising my NHS knowledge to formulate my research. I have an inbuilt ambition to study to enhance my employer, the NHS. Studying a prof doc is fulfilling my desire.

I work full time for Wessex Academic Health Science Network, an NHS England funded organisation which supports the uptake of innovation into the NHS. I’m Associate Director for Primary Care Strategic Programmes, which involves working with GPs, community pharmacists, dentists and other primary care professionals, undertaking clinical trials of new technologies in a real world setting to gather clinical evidence. We do a lot of work with the University and its innovation and health agenda, so it felt right to be an advocate of studying there too.        

In 2008 I took my first strategic role in the public sector and undertook my MSc in Leadership in Health & Wellbeing at the University of Portsmouth. I was in the first cohort of this course and gained a PGCert in Leadership in Health & Wellbeing and a PGDip in Strategic Commissioning. My daughters have grown up with me working full time and studying while I work. I’m showing them they can do it and achieve results if they work hard.


The University has offered me courses that can be applied in a work-based environment and supports work-based learning. 

Rachel Dominey, Professional Doctorate in Health Science

The University has offered me courses that can be applied in a work-based environment and supports work-based learning. My professional doctorate has been well received by both my academic and clinical colleagues as it’s based upon ‘insider research’ and very applicable to today’s political landscape.

As a result of studying at Portsmouth, I’ve made key connections with researchers which not only benefit my Prof Doc but also my profession.  I always need quantitative and qualitative researchers to undertake focus groups and interviews with clinicians and patient groups, so I’ve killed 2 birds with 1 stone! I also feel more confident and able to use evidence, tools and techniques to justify my decisions in the workplace.

Believe in yourself and embrace the opportunities this University gives you. I’m close to finishing my doctoral journey but I don’t want my student days to end at Portsmouth. I’ve loved every minute of studying here; from the start of my Masters to now, the journey has been incredible! The help and support is always there, from your supervisors – they are amazing - and from your peer group, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or feel you don’t belong. You do – and the uni really supports you!

Working in the Academic Health Science arena, my new found love of research and gaining the highest academic award, underpinned by my clinical degree and skills, means I can branch into whichever route I may wish to pursue.