Tell us about yourself
I began specialist training in the North East and North Cumbria in 2014 having completed several collaborative research projects as a core trainee in Yorkshire. Although originally from the North East I have settled in Carlisle and have rotated through most of the hospitals in the region.
I have recently accepted two shoulder and elbow fellowships one in Christ Church, New Zealand and the other in Brisbane, Australia.
Why did you want to become a researcher?
Although I enjoy my clinical work, I have always felt the need to do other projects to keep me busy. I enjoy working as a team and research gives me opportunity to be part of collaborative work but to also develop my own research interests. The work I complete as a researcher has the potential to impact many more patients than I could ever hope to achieve in clinical based practice. I get a great sense of reward and satisfaction when I see my projects completed and published.
What research have you been involved in?
I published my first paper as a foundation year one doctor I had a great amount of pride seeing my name PubMed indexed.
During core training in Yorkshire, I completed several projects as part of a small research collaborative of four friends. We completed case-control studies, systematic reviews and case series which were all published in a short time which really got me hooked.
When I joined specialty training, I joined the CORNET Research Collaborative and was quickly elected as vice chair, helping coordinate and run research trials and projects.
I began my MD at the University of York and completed an apprenticeship in research trials at the York Trials Unit. My research topic was rib fracture fixation however I learnt skills of systematic review and meta analysis, core outcomes, analysis of large data registries and Delphi consensus.
Concurrently, I ran a collaborative CORNET project looking at acromioclavicular joint injuries, the ACDC Study. This was a NIHR portfolio study run over 12 hospitals and involving two research collaboratives.
I have undertaken roles as the associate specialty lead for research at RCSEng, organising committee for the national research collaborative Meeting and help set up the national research collaboratives committee.
I was appointed in 2019 as the NIHR NENC and HEENE research careers fellow. This role promoted and helped trainees access research careers in the North East and Cumbria. Within this role I set up a new website of local research opportunities and career paths, created research opportunities newsletter and list of studies that trainees would be suitable to help undertake.
I helped publicise and promote the associate principal investigator scheme and teach on the clinical research in the NHS course.
What has been your research highlight so far?
Completing my MD was a great achievement for me I had learned so many new skills and felt embedded with the York Trials Unit (YTU). Publishing your work in peer reviewed journals as well as completing my thesis was hard work but the sense of satisfaction and achievement really did make it all worth it. The thesis defence was a little daunting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as my hard work was recognised and I truly felt like an expert.
What advice would you give someone who is considering a career in research?
Training is not something to be rushed, take your time and complete the projects that you want to do. There is always time to be a consultant later and there are often more opportunities available to trainees. There are multiple opportunities from academic career pathways, time out of programme as well as opportunities to be an associate principal investigator.
Also, do not be disheartened if projects do not work out this is quite normal, it makes the projects that do work much more rewarding.