Carol Keen Masters in Clinical Research placement
I undertook an MSc in Clinical Research on a part time basis from 2011 to 2013. Having no previous research experience, I had a bit of a steep learning curve, but enjoyed the challenge and opportunity enormously.
During the course we had placements in practical research setting and I undertook mine in the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). I was able to see research in action, and to be part of a small study. The contact I developed in that placement offered me opportunities for my dissertation. I was also offered a part-time secondment in the CLAHRC which ran for 18 months, including a period beyond the end of course.
On my return to clinical work I was keen to continue with research activity. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy offers research funding to “novice” researchers, so in collaboration with a more experience researcher from SHU I applied and was successful in receiving a grant for £20,000 to investigate current physiotherapy practice in patients with pulmonary hypertension. This study has been underway now for 18 months: data collection is complete and we are bringing together our analysis and writing up findings. We will also be exploring what the next opportunities from this research will be.
I was co-applicant on a bid for NIHR funding to investigate the feasibility of pre-habilitation for patients with myeloma who will be undertaking a bone marrow transplant. This has been a great opportunity to work with a larger research team, alongside more experienced researchers and recruiting patients in an NHS setting. Recruitment in this study is underway and we have very positive feedback from participants.
Through my MSc and CLAHRC YH secondments I was given a great deal of support and encouragement to pursue research opportunities. I have sought several opportunities, grants and positions in the last few years, not all of which have been successful. However each time I feel that I have gained something through seeking each opportunity: I have learned a lot, made contacts, extended networks, and increased awareness of my skills and areas of interest. All of these things have allowed me the achievements described here, and hopefully more going forward. I would encourage others to do the same.