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Turning clinical insights into real-world research – our latest blog post from ARC OxTV internship awardee, Stephanie Taylor, shows how a dedicated Specialist Physiotherapist is using her ARC OxTV Internship to translate frontline experiences into potentially life changing research.

An isometric image of a physio teherapist and a patient, and the same physiotherapist studying

Finding time to undertake research is difficult when working in a clinical role.

We often have great ideas and insight into what is important for patients and front-line clinicians but lack the time and head space needed to even begin to develop these much-needed ideas.

I’m a physiotherapist working in rare disease and interested in enabling my patients to be more physically active. My yearlong internship with ARC Oxford afforded me the time, and funding, to pursue one such idea to improve patient care.

I’d spotted the ARC internship  advertised in our hospital newsletter, so I decided to apply and was thankfully successful. The application process was straightforward, and the interview was not at all daunting and the interview panel were friendly and supportive.

In your application you can include how you would like to use the funding and make it bespoke for your experience and research needs. In my application I was able to include payment for my time and my academic supervisors, as well as funding for further academic training and to support patient involvement in my project.

The internship ended up funding a day of my time each week for a year, allowing me to codesign an exercise intervention with patients and specialist physiotherapists. It also allowed me to access training on Patient and Public involvement (PPI), which is essential for all research.  This turned out to be invaluable for my project as the patient feedback changed my initial research idea and helped to develop the final research question.

Working with supervisors from within a Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) – and across the wider ARC team – allowed me to access a wealth of knowledge; it allowed me to meet with health economists, statisticians, and other specialists in methodologies that helped guide me though my journey and project design.

I was also able to include a Master’s module on ‘Mixed methodology’ within my funding, which I used to explore my research design following on from the internship. This was a great opportunity to both learn more and meet other researchers in this field and make contacts for the future.

Being a part of the University of Oxford also gave me access to a vast array of training opportunities designed to help people on their research journey, so if you also find yourself successful for such an internship, do take the time to investigate what is available. Another bonus from being a part of the University was being able to access the amazing journal articles collection – these saved hours of time, as we all know how difficult it can be to gain access to certain research articles!

I have now written up my years’ experience as an ARC OxTV intern for publication and even been chosen for an oral presentation in a European conference, which will be a great opportunity to share what I have learnt and developed with my colleagues.

The ARC OxTV internship has been a fabulous opportunity to meet and work with a variety of researchers, do some relevant training, and develop new contacts. But more importantly, it gave me the time and resources to develop the ideas and insights I had from my clinical role; to design an exercise intervention programme that can now be used for our patient group to increase their physical activity.

Stephanie Taylor MCSP, MRes,

Stephanie Taylor is a specialist physiotherapy and has worked at the Oxford Haemophilia and Thrombosis centre for the last 14 years. She specialises in musculoskeletal health working with patients with haemophilia and other bedding disorders.

Recent blog posts

The Healing Power of Creative Arts: A DPhil Journey in Mental Health Research

Briana Applewhite, a 2nd year DPhil student in Psychiatry funded by NIHR ARC OxTV, shares insights from her research exploring creative arts therapies for alleviating trauma and PTSD symptoms in youth, including a recently published paper on social dance for mental health.

Family Solutions Plus: A new chapter in child safeguarding services

In this blog post, Dr Ruta Buivydaite and Dulcie Irving discuss their evaluation of Oxfordshire County Council's new child safeguarding approach, Family Solutions Plus. Early results show improved outcomes, though achieving some goals will take more time.

BLOG: How an online tool allows parents and therapists to work together to help children with anxiety

In this post, originally appearing in The Conversation, researchers from a recently published ARC -supported study explain more about their work that found an online platform enabling parents to provide therapy may effectively treat child anxiety while using therapists' time more efficiently.

Bridging Gaps: mental health, economics and policy

In this blog post, Ed Penington explores the discussions around economic and policy challenges in mental health revealed at a recent half-day workshop, sponsored by the ARC OxTV titled: Let’s talk about mental health: economic and policy perspectives.

Welcome to the FORUM: A new outcome measure for forensic mental health services.

FORUM is a new online tool that brings both patient and clinician together for improved care and safety in forensic mental health services. In this blog, Dr Howard Ryland explores both the need for this tool and how it was developed through a collaborative approach with all involved.