Imperial has held its first ever event to encourage a wider range of clinical staff to engage in research in order to improve patient care.

More than 30 nurses, midwives, pharmacists, healthcare scientists and allied healthcare professionals from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT), the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS foundation Trust attended the event at Charing Cross Hospital, part of ICHT on Thursday 22 June.

Guests at the event  – aimed at clinical staff who are not doctors – learnt more about research opportunities and support available to those who are considering an academic or research career.  These range from fully funded one year research fellowships to career routes into a clinical academic career.

Dr Caroline Alexander, lead clinical academic for therapies

Dr Caroline Alexander, lead clinical academic for therapies

Dr Caroline Alexander, lead clinical academic for therapies, said:  “It is so important to encourage our healthcare staff to think about a clinical academic career. Nurses, midwives, Allied Health Professionals, pharmacists and healthcare scientists have great insight about the questions that need answering in patient care and the more staff we have involved in leading research the better our patient’s outcomes.

“Our meeting laid out the pathways people can take to develop both their clinical and their academic skills. We had people at different points in their career telling their peers about their journey. It was exciting to have had such a high level of enthusiasm for the event and we hope our delegates were inspired.”

A team of presenters representing different professions and levels of experience were on hand to offer guidance and advice to delegates.

Professor Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial College London, shared his advice on the best ways to get funding for research projects and Professor Helen Ward, Director of Imperial Patient Experience Research Centre (PERC), explained to delegates how they can involve patients and public in their research.

Delegates also heard about research projects being carried out by colleagues at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Adine Adonis, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist – Neurology at ICHT, gave an overview of her current study on testing a medical device to measure muscle strength of patients with rare spinal cord disease.   Adine, currently a Pre-Doctoral research fellow funded by the Imperial College Healthcare Charity and NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, also spoke to delegates about how she entered into a research career, the support she received and how she overcame challenges she faced.

The event was organised by the Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO) who delivers training and education opportunities for clinical staff as part of the Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre.

Providing education and training opportunities for clinical staff is a key mission of Imperial AHSC, a joint initiative between Imperial College London, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. It aims to transform healthcare by turning scientific discoveries into medical advances to benefit local, national and global populations in as fast a timeframe as possible.

For more information on education and training opportunities please contact the Clinical Academic Training Office.