Welcoming another trainee to the Newcastle BRC
At the NIHR Newcastle BRC, providing an inspirational environment for career development is something we are passionate about. The latest trainee to come on board is Colette Kirk, a Dietitian with Newcastle Hospitals, who has received an award through NIHR Newcastle BRC to commence a clinically focussed PhD. Here, Colette tells us a bit about her journey so far, and what she hopes to achieve with her new research focus.
I graduated in 2009 with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences and then in 2012 with a PGDip in Dietetics. In 2014 I began to specialise in liver disease, intestinal failure and home parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding). Dietetics is all about evidence based practice, however I quickly learnt that when it comes to intestinal failure and home parenteral nutrition, there really is very little evidence out there!
Working with historical and best practice advice inspired me to undertake my own research. I hadn’t engaged in research since my undergraduate degree and I therefore sought as many research training opportunities as possible*. Following this I successfully applied for pump prime funding to further develop my own research ideas and build a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship application.
I approached clinicians and academics with expertise in the areas and methodologies I am interested in. This was terrifying but everyone was more than happy to help. Four years down the line, a lot of late nights, early mornings, many grey hairs and a re-submission later, I am about to undertake a PhD to understand the factors that impact on the quality of life of intestinal failure patients, and the contribution played by liver disease. Once understood, interventions can be designed. I hope that this is the essential first step in developing a patient-led, clinical service that supports patients to live their longest and best life.
My research has a clear and strong link to the direction of the Newcastle BRC, and although nervous, I’m really excited to be working with them whilst also being supported by Newcastle Hospitals, Newcastle University and the wider NIHR Training environment. The award allows me to combine clinical research with continued clinical practice and professional development.
* Colette attended a number of training workshops hosted by the NIHR Newcastle BRC and the Faculty of Medical Science Graduate School. Learn more about being a trainee with the Newcastle BRC