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Jane Griffiths, Carrie Hunt and Joanne Thomas
Are you a Nurse, Midwife or Allied Health Professional, thinking about research, passionate about providing evidence based care and wanting to do the best for your patients? Have you ever wondered about the answer to a clinical question, or what your patients feel about a service? Then keep on reading…
In this blog post, we provide an overview of what you can expect from a CLAHRC research internship, along with three tips for getting the most out of the programme.
The CLAHRC GM internship programme is a springboard for health care practitioners with an interest in research. Perhaps their appetite was whetted at University, or maybe it has happened since through involvement with audit and evaluation in their workplace. The programme has been a huge success, and far greater than we anticipated. We are constantly impressed by how much our research interns achieve in a relatively short period of time (and with quite limited resources!).
“Completing an internship with the CLAHRC has been a brilliant experience. The internship has enabled me to take a step back from clinical work and develop more of a critical approach…”
Instead of just dipping their toes into research, most opt for full immersion! The programme is beneficial to anyone with an interest in research who has a question from practice they would like to explore.
The interns start with an intensive workshop that introduces them to the world of health services research, including an introduction to research and evaluation methods. By the end of this workshop, they have a clear question and plan for how they will answer it.
Most decide to do a literature review and an evaluation of some aspect of their service. Interns receive monthly supervision from a member of the CLAHRC team and a research active colleague (or academic). In addition to this, interns have the opportunity to participate in educational workshops and to present their findings at a celebration event.
Three top tips to get you started
1) Don’t be intimidated!
You are not expected to know everything and that’s why you are taking the first steps in developing your research skills.
When learning a new skill, everything can feel a bit daunting, but that’s completely normal, as some of our interns describe below;
“It’s a little bit daunting, but why not, I suppose the question is why not me?”
“So who knew research was for me? Who knew working with academics, talking about my research would seem normal and definitely who knew senior medical colleagues would now be asking my advice!”
“I’ve met some great people. Friendly, experts – yes in the same person. So many people who have gone out of their way to help, not only from the practical side of working on my project which has been great having a supervisor who can walk you through that process, academic and clinical supervisors are so important. But even those outside the research programme have been so supportive, go along and speak to so and so, you rock up at a discussion group and you are not fully sure you should even be there, but by the end of it, you are passionately talking about your project, people are listening and you’re on a bit of a roll!”
2) Choose a project that you're passionate about, as you never know – this may have scope to morph into another qualification. You’ll want to do work that you are interested in and that you feel makes a difference to clinical care.
Many of our interns decide to conduct a literature review in a particular area that they may have been interested in for many years, but have never had the time, or the support or knowledge to get started.
Alternatively, some interns decide to conduct a small scale evaluation looking at the impact and/or process of their clinical work, this may then form part of a wider piece of research or improvement work. Who knows where it could lead! Some of our interns even go on to develop their work through further study, either signing up for a Master’s in Clinical Research or preparing a PhD proposal.
Here one of our interns describes how the programme provided an important opportunity to step back and consider their future development.
“Completing an internship with the CLAHRC has been a brilliant experience. The internship has enabled me to take a step back from clinical work and develop more of a critical approach. I have learnt practical research skills that I have been able to apply to my role. Support and mentoring from the CLAHRC team has helped me to develop ideas for my career, completely changing my perceptions of the possibilities.”
3) Think about what you want to get out of the programme.
Yes, you want to complete a research or evaluation project, but what personal development is important to you? Do you want to spend your internship meeting experts and gathering a really sound evidence base and scope for your study? Or do you want to immerse yourself in the literature and conduct a review?
“I genuinely… I went into it wanting some kind of change. And I certainly got what I wished for. I wanted a change. The reason why I applied to the internship in the first place was I'd reached a point where I enjoyed my clinical work, but I was feeling that something was missing and that I wanted to develop in some way. And the research interest has always been there and on the back burner at certain times, and more in the forefront at certain times. And it just came at a time that I was thinking about this, and then the opportunity came up I jumped into it. Which in some ways isn't really like me. I usually mull over these things. But it was quite a quick decision to apply and do it.”
Where to find out more
We hope that these tips about making the most of your research internship along with the experiences of our recent interns will help you when considering what you’d like to get out of an internship with us.
To find out more about the CLAHRC GM internship programme please contact Dr Jane Griffiths, CLAHRC GM Training Lead.
Date Published: 19/02/2019