The achievements of two new AHP Clinical Academics at Nottinghamshire Healthcare have been recognised in a national awards scheme run by the Chief Allied Health Profession Officer (CAHPO).
The work of Dr Becca O’Brien (pictured left) and Dr Lisa Everton (right), speech and language therapists within the Trust, has led to them being shortlisted in the Research Impact category.
Promoting a research culture to allied health professionals
Dr Della Money, Associate Director, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), explained that AHP Clinical Academics have the crucial role of developing research capacity and capability, and promoting a research culture for AHPs. They also work to build the Trust’s reputation as a good place to be for AHPs who are interested and active in research.
AHPs at Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust include Arts Therapists, Dietitians, Paramedics, Physios, Podiatrists, OTs and Speech and Language Therapists. They play a key role in the multi-disciplinary teams that support patients across the NHS.
A positive place for research
In July 2021, a pilot project was launched to promote equity for AHPs in research and innovation across the Trust. Two post-doctoral AHPs - Dr Lisa Everton and Dr Becca O’Brien - were appointed as Clinical Academic Leads to provide leadership in a research culture amongst AHPs.
Dr Money added: “Lisa and Becca have both been visible across the Trust while remaining clinically active, combining their own clinical work and research careers with authentic strategic leadership.
“Between them, they have published three papers, are project managing research trials, have presented at national and international conferences, and been awarded the title of Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham and a HEE/ NIHR Post-Doctoral Bridging Award.”
The benefits of AHP engagement in research
The benefits of AHP research for patients, services and colleagues include improved results for patients and service users, a wider range of treatment options and evidence-based care, and improved staff engagement and retention.
“As a large community and mental health trust, employing around 750 registered AHPs, we need to offer equitable access to sustainable support, infrastructure and investment in research and innovation, with a culture of research and clinical academic career planning,” added Dr Money.
The Trust is now working to support non-medical clinical academics, based on the trailblazing work of the AHP Clinical Academics.
A pilot study has led to a raised profile of AHP research, a new AHP Research Advisory Group and mentoring scheme which has supported an increased proportion of AHPs applying for and participating in formal research training.
Lisa and Becca added: “It’s important that AHPs are involved in research to the same level as others such as nursing and medical colleagues, reflecting the equal role that we play in patient care and how well patients benefit from this multi-disciplinary approach.
“We have worked to make this a reality by scoping opportunities for promoting and involving AHPs in research, including internships, apprenticeships or envoy schemes, and supporting AHP Consultants and ACPs who have a research pillar in their job roles.
“We’re delighted to see that our work is already making a difference, through a monthly Research Café for all AHP staff to develop a Community of Practice and increased enquiries from research curious and active AHPs for guidance and advice.
About the awards
CAHPO Award nominations can be made for all members of the AHP Community, including support workers, assistant practitioners, registered professionals, pre-registration apprentices and students.
Nominations can be made by their peers or by themselves, to receive recognition for their personal contributions towards delivery of exceptional care for patients. The sixth annual awards will be presented on 13 October 2022.