Clinical internships offer new insights and experiences

Jemma Bell explains how a clinical internship enhanced her clinical practice and gave her a thirst for team work in research

I am a senior paediatric physiotherapist with a special interest in improving services for infants with developmental motor delay. Last year I was awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) / Health Education England clinical academic internship following a written application and interview.

The internship contributed £10,000 towards my salary costs, so that I could divide my time between building skills in clinical practice and research for six months.  

I worked with a senior clinical academic looking into physical activity in under-fives. For me to become involved in research in this way was incredible.  My role focused on selected activities designed to address my chosen research interests and areas of learning. This included recruiting patients and gaining consent to a multisite study and developing complex interventions. My data collection skills – specifically, qualitative interview and video observation – and data management, transformation and analysis expertise were also enhanced. This experience was supported by regular interactions with clinical academics from different disciplines – improving the depth and detail in my clinical reasoning. Throughout my internship, I was made to feel part of the core research team; within this, I have represented my clinical academic group at external meetings.

My internship experience has really challenged my understanding of how we develop and deliver interventions for children and their families.

I have attended further training on applying for research funding to address some important clinical questions within my speciality. I have an even greater respect for the complexity and rigour required to develop evidence-based therapy interventions. I am currently planning to further support evidence-based practice within my clinical speciality by applying for my next stage in the integrated clinical academic pathway. 

My experiences have reinforced my desire to ensure we work collaboratively to critically consider the services we are delivering. If you would like to know more please contact me.

  • Jemma Bell: research into activity in under-fives

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