Supporting Allied Health Professions Research

NMAHP RU researchers who have a background in the allied health professions welcome opportunities to work collaboratively with AHP clinicians, and to help those who want to do research themselves understand and navigate the unfamiliar pathways. Physiotherapist Jacqui Morris (pictured) and speech and language therapist Avril Nicoll both participated in different ways in a recent symposium ‘AHP Research – Yes We Can!’ organised by the North of Scotland Council for Allied Health Professions Research. Founded in 2014 and supported by 12 AHP organisations, CAHPR has 23 hubs across the UK. They aim to strengthen AHP research through providing opportunities for learning, sharing, networking, collaboration and access to advice. 

Introducing the day, Jacqui used her experience as one of the first AHP clinical academics in Scotland to observe that allied health professionals often succeed in research despite rather than because of the system. With strategic support for this type of career still lacking, it can be a ‘lonely furrow’ demanding significant time and commitment. On the plus side, she said this offers an opportunity to ‘forge your own direction’ by pursuing burning, important and original research questions that are likely to have impact. Having been involved in national work to support clinical academic career options, Jacqui hopes that clinical academic pathways will become clearer. She did however emphasise that considering the two halves of the work as one role, with one set of objectives, enables those in clinical academic roles to work effectively between the NHS and the academic setting in a seamless way. Later in the day, Jacqui also led workshops on developing grant proposals.

Avril’s contribution came in the form of a 10 minute platform presentation about her qualitative study of practice change in speech and language therapy. As AHP research has traditionally focused on experimental methods, she took the opportunity to demonstrate the flexibility of qualitative research for making sense of the complexities of intervention and change in different contexts.

Early on in her PhD, Avril explored the topic of practice change with speech and language therapists around the world when she curated one of the first @WeSpeechies chats on Twitter. While she is looking forward to a follow-up once she has written up her thesis, the Unit’s Eddie Duncan is getting ready to host the first #OTalk Research Twitter chat. #OTalk is a weekly Twitter chat for discussion about topics relevant to occupational therapy. From October, the first chat of each month will have a theme around the role of research in day to day occupational therapy practice. Eddie, who has a background in occupational therapy, will host the chat at 8pm on Tuesday 4th October on the topic of developing evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence. 

The 2nd North of Scotland AHP Research Symposium was on Thursday 1st September 2016 at Perth Royal Infirmary. As well as local hub activity, CAHPR provides a range of top tips for budding researchers, including Running a Journal Club and Preparing a Scientific Poster.


NMAHP RU ebulletin


29 November 2016

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