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Case study: Your Path in Research - Marina Bozic

Qualifying in 2016, Marina began her career as an apprentice, studying at King’s College London and practising in Hitchin in Hertfordshire. She moved to the South West in 2021.

“I’ve always liked being involved with patients, and being able to change their life through their smile,” Marina says. “Now I work sometimes with students, and sometimes in surgery. It’s really interesting because PDSE runs a range of different projects – we help people that are homeless, for example, there’s a refugee clinic and a kids’ clinic.”

PDSE is a community interest company that provides NHS treatment and outreach services to local communities in Devon and Cornwall, as well as dental education facilities for undergraduate dental and dental therapy students at the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School.

Although thoroughly enjoying her clinical role, Marina was keen to get involved in research when the opportunity arose.

“One of my teammates began working in research as part of her job, and I thought it looked really interesting,” she continues. “Then a role was advertised internally for a Research Dental Nurse, so I applied and was successful. I’m currently doing one day a week alongside my other duties.

“I’ve been involved in research several times as a participant, and I was always interested in how the studies worked and what the staff were doing beyond the appointment with me. Getting involved in research enhances my career portfolio and I am learning a lot about clinical trials and working with a wider team of other professionals beyond dentistry.”

Marina, though, believes the benefits of research go well beyond individual career development.

She explains: “During my career I have seen the effect of oral cancer on patients, and one of the studies I am involved in is looking at the prevalence of human papilloma virus in the general population at sites globally. This virus is associated with oropharyngeal cancer so I feel I am contributing understanding of this disease to help our patients and other clinicians.

“For patients, taking part in research makes them feel as though they are valued and their opinion counts, and they have participated in something bigger. It can be a real motivation for people who might be struggling. We see this especially with the homeless clinic, it is a really positive thing for them to feel they have participated in something that could change people’s lives.

“Everyone can get into research, there are so many opportunities, especially as we involve more and more people and primary care sites, not just hospitals. I think research is a really good opportunity for Dental Nurses. Most people choose our profession not for the money, but because they want to help patients, and research is definitely one of the ways Dental Nurses can do that.”

The NIHR's Your Path in Research campaign highlights how people can make research part of their career. Find out more on the NIHR's website.