medical research in primary care

If you do research, what’s it about, and why should people care about it?

I do medical research in primary care.  I work with GPs [general practitioners] to improve the evidence behind the way they diagnose and monitor patients. For example, it’s important that we know how accurate the different measurements doctors (or patients!) make are.  If we know how accurate the results are, we know how much to trust them, and how much weight to give them when making decisions about treatment.

What’s a common myth about your field?

That all the researchers are medical doctors.  Obviously we have quite a lot of doctors, and they are really great to work with.  But you don’t need to be a doctor to be a medical researcher – more than half of the people in my department aren’t from a medical background. We have statisticians, sociologists, engineers, psychologists, economists and probably a fair few more specialists that I’ve forgotten about.

What do you do outside of your academic work? 

I spend a lot of time volunteering for St John Ambulance, both as a first aider or ambulance crew treating people at events, and as a first aid trainer.  I’m also a keen knitter and crocheter. Sometimes I combine the two and knit in the front of the ambulance when we don’t have any patients!