New appointment to promote therapies research

Dr Caroline Alexander has been appointed lead clinical academic for therapies at the Trust in a bid to support more therapies staff to undertake research.

Her new role will focus on making therapies staff ‘research aware’ – helping them apply research findings to their clinical practice, and supporting them to apply for grants to undertake their own research projects.

“In my experience, some staff don’t consider research as part of their career plans,” said Caroline, who is also an adjunct reader at Imperial College London.

“I want to encourage them to see training as a clinical academic as a real possibility, just like training in other specialist areas.

“I would also like to have clinical academics integrated into teams so staff can see the role in practice, understand how it can impact patient care and how the role differs to jobs that they are more familiar with.”

Caroline and her team will be holding a series of workshops and training sessions for therapies staff focussing on key skills needed for a career in research. By coming to one of these events, staff will be able to network with their peers, find out about research projects underway and the opportunities open to them.

“There are many transferable skills between research and clinical practice,” she said, “such as the ability to problem solve, think creatively and manage time effectively.”

Asked how research is already influencing the therapies clinicians are delivering in hospital, she said:

“Hypermobility is the focus of one of our research projects. This is a condition where a person is particularly supple and able to move their limbs into positions others find impossible. Most people with this condition don’t have any problems, but some patients can experience fatigue and pain in their joints. We found strength training can reduce pain and help make muscles around the joints stronger. This is an encouraging finding we are already putting into practice at a clinical level.”

Attend the North West London Research Symposium – Caroline’s next event on 20 September 2017 for nurses, midwives, allied health professions, pharmacists and healthcare scientists.

Find out more about the work of the clinical academic training office.