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Case study: 'My Social Care Research Journey' - Louise

Louise Marsh, Research Associate at the School of Health & Social Care, University of Lincoln, shares her journey and provides some thoughts about the importance of social care and public health research….

I am a nurse by background and specialised in gerontology and geriatric care, first as a community health nurse in Australia before working in residential and nursing care homes in Scotland. I then moved into adult social services in Lincolnshire for three years before establishing a charity in 2005, in the south of the county, focusing on providing support and interventions for older people.

In 2017 our social care charity was invited to participate in a research project with the universities of Birmingham, Brighton and Lincoln looking at the experiences of self funders. Taking part in this project for three years proved a really positive experience. This aroused my interest and gave me the confidence to explore social care research more closely. When an opening for a Research Associate post arose at the University of Lincoln, funded by NIHR CRN East Midlands, I applied and was delighted to get the role.

My brief is to help raise awareness of social care research with an ambition to increase capacity amongst social care providers. This enables me to focus on my passion for improving the status and provision of social care through research.

Whilst we are making progress in delivering health research within social care, there remains significant scope for exploring social care research in the sector. It’s an exciting area to work in because there is so much enthusiasm and potential, and we are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to empower more organisations and people to get involved in research.

Building research awareness and activity within the social care sector will hopefully make an enormous impact. It will help to raise standards, showcase excellent provision, allow us to develop good evidence based practice, enthuse our fantastic workforce and show users of social services and their families that we are continually working to improve their experience.

I’m really pleased that the NIHR’s Your Path in Research campaign is focusing on social care and public health research. There is so much potential for growth in these areas, and I am excited to see the progress that is being made!

Find out more about the Your Path in Research campaign at: