If you’re an early years/new researcher, peer support is available to you at NBT through the SNAHPer Group (Scientists, Nurses, Allied Health Professional early researchers Group).
There are many people at NBT undertaking Master and Doctorate level study, or wanting to start their research careers. As a University post-graduate student, people are part of a full-time research community, meeting in shared study areas, and forming informal peer support networks. They are also supported by a post-graduate department who host events and provide training opportunities.
As full-time scientists, nurses, and allied health professionals undertaking research these support networks historically have not been present within NBT. SNAHPer aims are to rectify this. Our plan to give every individual a sense of belonging to an early career researcher peer community.
Research suggests that accessing group support increases the likelihood of:
- Completing a post-graduate degree.
- A greater likelihood of completing in good time.
- A greater likelihood of having a more enjoyable and less stressful journey.
We have developed a draft programme of workshops and events to support any SNAHPer within the Trust. This support maps directly onto the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (the UK’s national organisation for researcher development).
As a member of SNAHPer, you will be encouraged to work with your supervisory team (within your registered HEI, if registered for a formal educational program) in using the Researcher Development Framework to identify your own goals and skill levels, enabling you to engage with targeted training and development activities, with them and within NBT.
If you would like to get involved in the group, please email SNAPHer@nbt.nhs.uk.
Here, our champions of the West of England Clinical Research Network (CRN), share why they believe AHPs should get involved in research:
I think research is important to AHPs because AHPs are very well placed in a lot of diverse clinical and community environments to talk to patients, to work with patients, to work in collaboration with patients, in order to ask the pertinent questions around what is going to benefit the patient in terms of clinical intervention, clinical treatments, and we are really well placed to work together with patients in order to further our knowledge, both the clinical benefit but also the patient benefit as well.
AHPs have a different relationship with their patients to medical clinicians, nurses and other staff within the hospitals. They have hands on contact with their patients for a much longer period than other clinicians in the hospital, and for a longer period of time. And the type of research that they can do therefore is very different. It tends to be more practical types of research, and therefore has potential impacts in quality of life and the day-to-day living of patients.
Really, we know that the best research ideas come from those working on the ground. They know what the problems are, what the issues are. With the clinical service, they do it day in, day out. They’ve probably already thought of solutions that, as academics sitting in an office, we wouldn’t necessarily know. I think it’s a really good opportunity to help the patients that you say day in, day out, and also to develop yourself as well. It's a tough process, but it’s an interesting process, and it’s just as important that we capture everyone’s voice in the research process.
I think it’s really important that AHPs get involved in research, if they can, if they have an interest in it, because we like to think of research as being enhanced healthcare. Everybody wins. The setting that the research is carried out in wins because it means that they have a more stringent team of healthcare professionals. The patients obviously win, because they’ve got access to the most cutting-edge healthcare available, and also that they can feel that they are doing something for somebody else, which is really important, and it does broaden the skillset of any clinician or AHP and widen their career, which has got to be a bonus.
As Allied Health Professionals, we are all involved in research because we are consumers of the research that is published. But actually, we need to be the people who also driving the research, because it’s through our clinical experience that we identify unique and different needs that need to be addressed through research, and we as the AHPs need to be leading that, and not just following the medics or other people’s research agendas, but actually setting our own research agenda.
 Conrad, L. 2006. “Countering Isolation—Joining the Research Community.” In Doctorates Downunder: Keys to Successful Doctoral Study in Australia and New Zealand, edited by C. Denholm and T. Evans, 34–40. Camberwell, VIC: Acer Press
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