This site is optimised for modern browsers. For the best experience, please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Case study: Your Path In Research - Rebecca Barnard, Research Practitioner, Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Case Study: Rebecca Barnard

Rebecca Barnard is a Research Practitioner at Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. In this Q&A she explains how a career in research offers her the chance to constantly learn new things and develop.

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

A: It's been a natural progression for me. I found that I was becoming more and more interested in the research side of things in my previous role and, after discussion with the Research Department here for career opportunities, felt it was something I needed to do. There are so many routes into, and branches of, health and care research there is something for everybody, no matter your background.

Q: Why did you get involved in research?

A: I think everybody that works for the NHS does so for one reason: To help people. With research, there is the potential to help millions of people a year with the changes made to practice; allowing us to deliver the best care possible to our patients.

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

A: I am passionate about learning and I feel, within this role, you are constantly learning something new. Whether that be a new database system for recording data or treatment options for various pathologies depending on the particular study. We can only provide the best care possible to our patients by first knowing what that is, and this is impossible to do without the research behind it.

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

A: The skillset required to work effectively and efficiently in research is so diverse. With myself, coming from a non-clinical background, the training has been fantastic in enabling me to carry out my role. I've been able to learn so much more about my specialism through my role in research than I would have ever been able to before.

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

A: Health and care research is the only way that we know we are providing patients with the best treatment possible. Without research and national, and international, databases of patient reported outcomes, for surgical intervention in my specialty, there is no other way to know that what we are doing is best. And that's the thing with continual research- we're constantly reviewing and assessing treatment options for patients and providing them with the best options at the time.

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

A: I would hope to continue to learn and improve my own practice, doing my part in research to make healthcare better for all. I'm still relatively new to the role and am loving all of the training opportunities I've had to develop myself both personally and professionally.

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

A: Because it is such a diverse and varied role, it really does require a diverse workforce behind it. There are so many roles within research so there would be something for everyone. Whether your background is clinical or not, the training opportunities are great and hopefully the range of roles available continues to grow.

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

A: I would obviously say to do it! I've not looked back and feel lucky to be a part of the research that goes on to improve the lives of our patients.