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Case study: A new career in research - advice from research colleagues at GWH

Have you recently started working in research, or are considering making the move?

Working in research can benefit your career in many ways: It offers the opportunity for further learning in your healthcare specialty, as well as enabling you to build a career around healthcare areas that you are passionate about. Many healthcare professionals say they find the experience of being involved in research studies positive and rewarding, as well as something that helps their career.

Perhaps you have recently started working in research, or are considering making the move?

Research colleagues at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GWH) have shared their advice for those new to research.

Everyone agreed that working in research can be a rewarding job. Suzannah Pegler said, “Enjoy the process of being part of exciting developments, and be proud of your contribution to innovative healthcare.”

Eva Fraile continued, “Enjoy the first time you consent a patient into a trial. It is so exciting for each individual trial and fills your day with joy. There is no day or trial the same in research, so enjoy each of them.”

A career move into research may seem daunting, but it’s important to know that you aren’t alone and help is always at hand!

The advice from Joe Stevens, Clinical Research Assistant, was to familiarise yourself with the research databases, “Stick with it, don’t be put off by the numerous database site files and endless queries! It can be overwhelming and a shock to the system at first, but as soon as you get your head around it, the rewards are worth it!”

Mentioned frequently, was the amount of acronyms used in research. Eva Fraile, Research Sister, said, “Don’t try to remember all of the acronyms that your colleagues talk about. Just ask every time, and eventually you will remember what they mean.”

Suzannah Pegler, Clinical Research Delivery Lead, added that, “There are no silly questions. It is a whole new language so take your time. Don’t try to absorb everything at the beginning, but learn as you go along”.

Lauren McCafferty, Research Practitioner, agreed, “It can be a bit overwhelming at the start, it’s like a whole new language! But, just know that we all started off like that. It really is such an exciting and rewarding job, and it is an honour and a privilege to be part of something that changes and improves people’s lives”

Kim Harmen, Sponsored Research Manager, summed it up by stating, “Go for it! There is lots of help out there and it feels good to make a difference.”

If you’re looking to start a new career in research, you can set up job alerts on NHS Jobs specific to your speciality. The National Institute for Health Research has developed three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to provide accessible introductions to clinical and healthcare research. The following courses are free and available for anyone to enrol in:

If you are already working in a healthcare setting, look into whether your local Trust has a job board and/or speak to your Research and Development department. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where we advertise new roles at the CRN West of England.

Visit Your Path in Research for more information.