Your Path in Research: A research manager's journey
Katie Doyle is Research and Innovation Manager for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which comprises Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. As part of the NIHR’s #YourPathInResearch campaign, Katie blogs about her passion for her job and how the health of a family member has brought the importance of research into even sharper focus.
I started working in research in January 2005 after having worked for a private dermatology company who operated to reduce NHS hospital waiting lists. At the time I had a four-year-old daughter (who will be 20 this year!) and I saw a research role advertised at Pennine Acute and knew I had to apply. I worked at Pennine Acute for a number of years before moving to The Christie research team. I then moved to the research department at Trafford General Hospital before applying for a brand new research role at Pennine Acute, which then evolved into a role covering both Pennine Acute and Salford Royal under the umbrella of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.
I absolutely love my job and the variety of challenges that it brings. No two days are the same. Some days are very office based (the last calendar year alone our team approved almost 300 new research studies and issued Continuing Capacity and Capability for 820 amendments) whilst other days are spent out and about at meetings, presenting research star awards to our amazing NHS colleagues, attending performance meetings and being involved in events such as International Clinical Trials Day.
When my mum was an oncology patient at Pennine, she was eager to take part in a research study for breast cancer patients and I believe that was due to my enthusiasm for research (and our excellent research nurses). I have also encouraged family and friends to ‘say yes’ to all research opportunities. My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia a few years ago and research is vital to ensure changes in the future for those affected by this horrific illness. Together with my friends and family we raised over £1,700 doing the Manchester Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Society and have raised further amounts for the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day, as well as raising money for other charities that fund research.
Research is crucial and our team understand the importance of setting up studies promptly (to enable all patients to have access to research that is relevant to them) and ensuring we have an excellent relationship with internal and external partners. Every day I feel proud to be an NHS research employee and extremely proud of my amazing, hardworking, dedicated team. The feedback we receive from sponsors is always positive and we are grateful to work alongside so many people who share our goals. I am also extremely grateful to our NHS consultants especially Mr Absar and Dr Raw who have both treated my parents superbly. In May 2019 when my dad was very poorly, I reached out to my NHS colleagues and the response and help I received was incredible.
My advice to anyone thinking of getting involved in research is to do it. It is such a challenging and rewarding career, and a job that is never spent ‘clock-watching’. There are not enough hours in each day. We spend more time at work than at home, so finding a job that makes you happy is extremely important.
The NIHR has launched its new campaign, Your Path in Research, in October 2019. The campaign aims to inspire health care professionals to get more involved in research.