Moving into research

Alison Bingham explains how she moved into a research environment and encourages others to engage with research wherever they can

Alison Bingham research fellow physiotherapist at the University of Exeter
Alison Bingham research fellow physiotherapist at the University of Exeter

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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