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Case study: Research is everyone's business - Faiza's Story

Engaging in research for better patient outcomes

From patients and public, to healthcare assistants, to nurses, doctors, pharmacists and allied healthcare professionals, we all have a role to play in research. After all, new drugs, new processes, new evidence would not exist without our role in research. 

My name is Faiza Yahya and I work as a Primary Care Clinical Pharmacist for Dudley Integrated Health and Care Trust (DIHC) and Our Health Partnership (OHP). I started my primary care role working for DIHC over six years ago when it was Dudley CCG. It was always my ambition to work in primary care, although I have also worked in the hospital and community pharmacy sectors. My vision one day is to see all these sectors collaborate for better, seamless patient care. 

On reflection, I would say I started seeing the initial impacts and rewards of research from our everyday practice through audits, service evaluations and quality improvements. I could see the fruits of these projects and how they improve patient care and patient safety. I was inspired by senior leaders who had a vision for quality improvement and better population health. I learnt to understand why we had methodical and rigorous structures to drive quality improvement projects forward. 

The difference we could make was phenomenal. It awakened my passion to be involved in this and to be able to one day make a difference of my own. I did a lot of reflection on what skills I needed to improve and how I could get involved in this realm, particularly in primary care. I then sought out and started a Health Education England Clinical Academic Research Internship to develop my skills in research. 

In terms of clinical trials and research involvement, we often think of commercial trials, industry or those trials based in the hospital sector. We seldom think of primary care research and in the past, we hadn’t really been exposed to it a great deal during our pharmacy undergraduate degrees. The dynamics of healthcare have changed over time and if we want to align with NHS long term plans and the integrated care systems models, we need to start thinking about patient care and research in the community. 

I wanted to know more about this so I reached out to the NIHR Clinical Research Network West Midlands and asked the question, ‘how can I get involved? I want to be part of this’. I also reached out to experienced senior pharmacists in my teams who had an interest in driving research forward. 

When the DaRE2THINK study was introduced to me, especially with the innovative design of using CPRD for pre-screening, I was very excited to be a part of it! Studies such as this have shown that clinical research is evolving, and non-medics and allied health professionals can and must be a key part of driving research projects forward. Although I am very keen on developing my personal skills, I really want to be able to make a significant contribution to healthcare and motivate others to also develop. Research often requires a collaborative team approach and to use the skills of different healthcare professionals can certainly strengthen research and create the environment where we can all learn from each other. 

The DaRE2THINK trial was ideal for me as a pharmacist as the research was on the use of direct oral anticoagulants and I have been able to upskill and extend my scope of practice in the process. I would encourage all pharmacists and allied health care professionals to seek opportunities in research in clinical practice as we know that practices/populations who are engaged in research have better health outcomes.