Alison Bingham explains how she moved into a research environment and encourages others to engage with research wherever they can
I have over 15 years’ experience as a physiotherapist and was looking for a change - a way to impact patient care in a new way. I wondered whether the research environment could be a new avenue for me to explore. I was successful in securing a job at the University of Exeter, working on a research project looking at recovery from delirium.
I didn’t have any previous research experience or additional qualifications and assumed this would be a barrier. However, I discovered that my real-life knowledge, experience and practical skills held significant value. The role needed a clinical mind to develop a novel intervention into something that would work in practice. My clinical experience allows me to give real-world examples of how to overcome difficulties that arise in the research setting. The role calls upon a lot of transferable skills. Time management, team working, coping with change, prioritisation, adaptability, and excellent communication skills are all essential for any research or clinical role.
I was apprehensive about moving away from clinical practice but now feel confident that all the new skills and experience I have gained would also be of benefit if I chose to return to a clinical role.
The move into research has been a really exciting and satisfying one for me. Health research plays an integral part in how the NHS develops services and continues to provide high-quality healthcare for our population. There are so many opportunities for AHPs to become involved in research alongside their clinical job or as a new direction in their career.
If it’s something you are keen to explore further, ask about any new research opportunities coming up. The CSP has an excellent research network and I would encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and go for it.
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