Health and Care Professionals

Why you should be involved in research

Health and social care research plays an important role in the UK’s health and care services and helps ensure we have the most up-to-date care and treatments available for patients.


Many healthcare professionals say they find the experience of being involved in research studies positive and rewarding, as well as helping their career. If you are inquisitive, a life-long learner, and have the drive to improve patient care then a research role may be for you.

 


Evidence shows that research-active NHS trusts delivering clinical research trials and studies have better patient outcomes and patients value the opportunity to participate in research studies and trials as part of their care.

Being involved in research is also good for your organisation as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) now has a remit to assess how trusts are supporting and using clinical research to improve patient care.

 

Where to start 

We can help you find out about the variety of ways you can engage with research - whether you’re looking to take your first or next step in research, or find out how you can inform your patients about research activity taking place near them.

 Find out what research is happening in your organisation and how you can get involved

All Trusts across Kent, Surrey and Sussex are research active. Contact your trust R&D team to find out what research is taking place.  

Research also takes place in primary care and social care settings. Contact CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex for more information crnkss.studysupport@nihr.ac.uk.

Research is happening in most clinical areas so you can choose to work in a clinical area that suits your experience and interests, for example, diabetes, cardiology, oncology, or you may choose to take on a new challenge and develop skills in another clinical area. If you are unsure whether this is a role for you, seek out the research teams in your clinical area and arrange to shadow the team. 

Your Path in Research

The NIHR’s Your Path in Research campaign has resources to help health care professionals engage with research - whether you’re looking to take your first or next step in research, or find out how you can inform your patients about research activity taking place near them.

 

FAQs on research roles

Do you want to find out more about how to move into research? Below are some frequently asked questions with answers.

What sort of support, training and education will I get in a research role?

To work on clinical trials each employee will be required to have a valid certificate in Good Clinical Practice (GCP). Courses are one day long and are delivered face to face or online. Each clinical research team will have its own induction programme for new staff and the support and training is generally tailored to the needs of the employee. 

The NIHR provides training courses and in addition, each employing organisation will have its own mandatory training programmes that employees will be required to complete.


NIHR CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex provides a training and education programme for anyone who wants to deliver research. Go to our training page for more information.

What is the average starting salary for someone working in a research role?

Many research staff are employed on a fixed-term contract due to the way the funding flows into research. However, staff on fixed-term contracts would not be treated less favourably than permanent employees, and staff on a fixed-term contract have the same rights as a permanent employee if they have been employed continuously for two two or more years. So if you are moving into research from another NHS role and do not have a break in service your employment rights will be treated the same as a permanent employee. You may also find some organisations offer roles on a substantive contract.

Where will I see research roles advertised?

Most people working in research work in hospitals and other healthcare settings and these posts are advertised on the trust website or on NHS jobs. It is important to read the job specification and contact the recruiting manager if there are components that you are unsure about. If you are considering a role in research, seek out the research teams in your area and discuss the role and arrange to shadow the team so you can decide if this is a career for you.

How do I get a research Bank Shift?

Most NHS trusts have a staff bank service to fill temporary gaps within the trust which allows existing staff the opportunity to work additional shifts or enables external staff to work through that trust bank. Each trust bank will have its own application and recruitment process. The skills required for different clinical areas will be dependent on the role. To work within clinical research there will generally be a requirement to have some existing research experience and hold a valid Good Clinical Practice certificate and Informed Consent certificate; however, this will be dependent on the individual organisation requirements. You may find some trusts advertise Bank Staff posts to deliver a specific study for a specific duration of time where training will be offered.

Can I work flexibly in a research role?

Mainly the role is Monday-Friday, 37.5 hours per week; however, a degree of flexibility is required depending on the requirements of the study. For example, you may need to work into the evening if an outpatient clinic runs late or attend an early morning multidisciplinary team meeting. Some studies may require you to work out of normal hours and each team will have their own policy for this.

Can I work part time in a research role?

Many research roles are part time and the post advertisement will state the number of hours per week. Some teams can be flexible depending on the requirements of their study protocols so it is always worth contacting the recruiting manager and discussing the hours even if the post is advertised as a full-time post.

Will I have to work on my own?

Research has a mix of autonomy and teamwork. You may manage your own caseload of studies but have access to a wider research team.

Will I learn new terminology?

Terminology that researchers use is generally unfamiliar to others. However, many research teams provide new staff with a glossary of terms and you quickly learn the acronyms and research terms through your day-to-day role.

Is a research role all about form filling and box ticking?

Patient safety and wellbeing is central to any research study and as such collecting and recording of clinical data is required. The data collection is important for the validity of the study and supports the final study outcome.

Do I need to read a lot of research papers to work in research?

Clinical research is important for improving clinical care for patients. There are many advances in clinical care and as someone working in research you will be required to keep up to date with advances in care in your clinical area, so having an inquisitive mind, and possessing good analytical and interpersonal skills are essential components of the role.

  

Learn more about health research

To take your knowledge of research a step further take a look at our free online courses Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research and What is Health Research? Both courses are designed for anyone who wants to know more about health research and the role it has in improving healthcare.

 

Engage with research in other ways 

 Make patients aware they could participate in a trial or study

Tell your patients about our Be Part of Research website. Be Part of Research enables patients and members of the public to find relevant studies to take part in at your organisation and across the country.  

Tell us what research is required 

You know your patients best and for the NIHR to make informed decisions about what research to fund, we need a complete and balanced picture about which questions most urgently need answering. We want to help ensure patients receive the best care and treatments possible so let us know your questions today.

Suggest a research question to the NIHR.   

Keep up to date with the latest evidence

Do you want to stay informed on practices and treatments which could benefit your patients? NIHR Signals are short, accessible summaries of the latest important research from the NIHR and others.

Develop your skills

We provide a training and education programme for anyone who wants to deliver research. Go to our training page for more information.

 

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