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Case study: Your Path In Research: Pauline Aspa, Research Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Case Study: Pauline Aspa

Pauline Aspa began her path in research in March this year and now works as a Research Nurse at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. She explains in this Q&A why working in health and care research makes her so proud.


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

A: Before starting in research, I was working in one of the COVID-19 Wards  in our trust. I witnessed how from knowing very little about treating COVID, research was able to provide a more structured care plan for our patients during the pandemic. Now, we have a number of treatments available that are proven effective and of good outcome to provide to our patients.


Q: Why did you get involved in research?

A: I realized during the time I was working on the COVID wards that I can contribute to the advancement of health care in a bigger scale by helping in research. I felt that as much as the care we nurses provide at the bedside, we can equally help and improve people's lives by being part of research that can be a basis of a better future.


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

A: Research makes me feel proud and excited to be part of something that could change the way healthcare is in the future. All the projects we are doing at present would be the basis of best clinical practice that will change the face of health care in the years to come. Also, I love working alongside a smart, creative and passionate group of people sharing the same goal of contributing to the advancement of healthcare.


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

A: Research opened plenty of doors for my nursing career. It can aid in both my professional and academic credentials for career advancements. At present, research is helping me develop my critical thinking skills, autonomy, communication and creativity. These are only some of the core qualities that would be handy if I aim to progress in my career.


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

A: Research is important because research makes a difference. Every new discovery made, even those projects that didn't turn out as planned will give a concrete basis and reference for knowledge. It will only stem further ideas, concepts and questions for us to answer and study in the future.


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

A: It is important because research never stops. Every day we may find new questions, or have queries on how to improve something about how healthcare is delivered or simply just how something is being done. We would not have an actual answer if people would not study into an idea deeper. So, for me, the more people who are involved in research the more questions are answered, the better health and care delivery would be.


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

A: One major impact I have witnessed is how research has turned the COVID-19 pandemic around. From very strict precautions at the beginning and knowing very little about it, the world has slowly but surely turned things around and people sort of have their lives back to a sense of normality. Vaccines have been developed and treatment options are now available that prove how important research is - especially in healthcare services.


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

A: Come and join the research and development family. It is an exciting adventure that can change the face of health and care delivery in the future. It is both challenging but very fulfilling.