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Case study: AHP campaign: “I would encourage any AHP to take the opportunity to be involved in research if the opportunity presents itself”

Melissa Brinkler

How did you first get involved in research?

I first became involved in research during my Operating Department Practitioner undergraduate degree whilst writing my dissertation, an extended literature review looking at whether measuring the depth of anaesthesia has an impact on postoperative cognitive disorder. Doing this research piqued my curiosity and made me research-aware and hungry. I was very excited to see the role for an AHP research practitioner in the CRN KSS Research Delivery Team advertised and I am very excited to be on my research journey.

What has been the highlight of your research career so far?

My research career is in its infancy and the highlight for me so far is being the study lead for an asthma study in children and recruiting my first participant! Being a lead is a natural progression in my research career. I coordinate study activities with the rest of our team and work with the study team and the local site PI who is a GP.

What skills do you think are needed for a career in research?

Many different skills are useful when working in research. For me, the key ones are good communication and teamwork because everyone needs to be aware of what is happening in the study and important relevant information about the participants. Working well with colleagues is vital to the success of a study, especially when working with multiple new types of sites.

Why do you believe research is important?

There are many benefits in research, for me, it is looking at the evidence to base our practice on to optimise patient care and recognising that it is research that has helped form these decisions. Research is also important to see if there is a different or better way of doing something, which could ultimately save money and improve the patient’s health.

What are your plans and ambitions for the future?

My plans for the future are to get more research experience in a variety of studies and to continue to engage with other allied health professionals who are working in research to grow a network of peers. I would like to undertake further study, for example, Masters course modules to gain a wider understanding of research principles and the different methods of research.

Do you have anything else to add?

I would encourage any AHP to take the opportunity to be involved in research if the opportunity presents itself.

Find out more

More career stories and additional resources
Shape the Future — NIHR resources to support research careers