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Case study: Your Path In Research - Ali James, Research Administrator, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Case Study: Ali James

Ali James is a Research Administrator at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. In this Q&A she explains what she loves about her role – including speaking to people from all over the world.

Q: How did you become involved in health and care research?

A: I was working for a GP practice as a receptionist when potential was noted in regard to my attention to detail. I was given the sponsored opportunity to study for a Certificate of Professional Development in Clinical Research at Liverpool John Moores University.

Q: Why did you get involved in research?

A: It seemed to be a great career opportunity making use of my skills and attitude to work as I take great pride in my work. I liked the thought that I could support medical research for a particular condition or disease.

Q: What do you enjoy about working in health and care research?

A: I really enjoy all the things that come with being a research administrator. I find it satisfying to share knowledge and demonstrate organisation and accuracy. Research introduces me to great people and has opened many doors.

Q: How can research benefit/add to your career?

A: Research has good job prospects for advancement both locally and beyond. I even have communication with people all over the world when I contribute to international studies!

Research gives me transferable skills both in work and in life generally.

Q: Why do you think health and care research is important?

A: Research supports and recognises the importance in helping clinicians to provide evidence-based improvement in treatment and care options for patients. As an example, I was proud to be part of a team that designed, set up and ran a national multi-site innovative randomised placebo-controlled research study called 'TWIST' using the Nintendo Wii in stroke rehabilitation.

Q: What are your hopes for your career in research?

A: In the coming year I wish to again expand my career in research after having had a quiet couple of years whilst dealing with family circumstances.   I have a special interest in research governance and my dream is to hopefully find a job within this role.

Q: Why is it important more people become involved in delivering health and care research?

A: I feel it is essential more people become involved in research delivery in order to enable research to become an integral part of patients’ clinical care and in the prevention and early detection of illness. Research delivery needs people with different skills and interests who can express their individual abilities whilst being part of a team.

Q: What impacts have you seen research make in health and care?

A: Just from my own direct involvement I have seen changes as diverse as when to use white stockings in patients who have had a stroke; is it better to sit up or lie down in the immediate aftermath of a stroke; the huge effect of thrombolytic therapy after an acute stroke to preserve function; the role of existing drugs in trying to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s Disease; the treatment of patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Q: What would you say to someone thinking of starting a career in research?

A: Working in clinical research will….

Challenge you

Be rewarding as you support clinical innovation and drug advances

Give you the guidance and tools to succeed in work and life skills

Give you good job prospects by working with/alongside many drug companies, academic institutions and national charities

Give you good job opportunities at all entry levels.