I have been an Allied Health Professional (AHP) clinician working in mental health services for over 20 years and I have started learning about and doing research in the past 12 years. Now, bridging both NHS and University institutions as a clinical-academic AHP I have found that I have to be a bit ‘bi-cultural’ to be able to operate across both organisations.
Even after I completed my PhD, I spent a long time ‘learning the language’ that academics speak. I came from a background of working in NHS services, and I didn’t always understand how it all worked at the university. We’re definitely all aiming at the same end goal to improve the lives of people who have health and social care needs, but health researchers and clinical AHPs operate in different workplace cultures that don’t always connect.
It is really important that NHS clinicians and health researchers work together – indeed, we know that NHS Trusts that are research active have better outcomes for their patients. As a clinical-academic AHP I now see my role as being a sort of bridge across the NHS clinical and university academic organisations.
“We know that NHS Trusts that are research active have better outcomes for their patients.”
When I speak to my AHP colleagues I can see that they really value improving people’s lives and doing their best for patients. They are also great problem solvers and they often come up with some really great applied research questions. Creating opportunities for AHPs and other health professionals to develop their research skills to help improve people’s mental health is something I am really keen to support.