What do you think makes an effective Researcher in Residence?
Being conscious of the relationship between research, policy and practice is key. It’s less about achieving scholarship and more about transferring knowledge into practice and being very acutely aware that it is outcome driven – that is what the clinical team want and need you there for. The role we play is ensuring that the team are making evidence-based decisions in their work, in implementation of new policy, in service design etc.
What do you hope to achieve from being part of the Researchers in Residence programme?
Impact and positive change, ultimately. In my role changes are implemented in such a rapid way, you see change after weeks and months, and you know that your work and your effort is being delivered in a meaningful way. And when a change you test is not adopted, you get to be part of the conversation, you’re in the environment and you can understand why other evidence is being prioritised over your own.
What is the key to building a strong Researcher in Residence/practitioner relationship?
That’s a really interesting question. There’s no one way to arrive at that place of trust between researcher and clinician but as the researcher you need to be flexible and agile and invest time in building relationships. The art of being an embedded researcher is that you are seen and used as part of the team and it takes time to build up that familiarity and that level of trust. In academia I’d be responding to a tender or a research call around a very specific question but here I might get ad hoc questions on research in the work kitchen, or in the corridor or in a lift. But that’s the beauty and uniqueness of the role: you are exposed to the real world and gain new insights and new lines of enquiry from the most unusual people in the most unusual places
What are your future goals for your work in Newham?
I’d like the Researcher in Residence role to continue as we roll out our work across the borough. Roll out will take several years and there will still be lots of learning and adapting necessary for the model to have the greatest benefit to patients and staff. Unlike traditional research, this type of work involves constant testing and learning. You get to really go to the heart of the problem.