Thursday, 20 February 2014

Elaine Berry, midwife and infection control matron, on her path into research

I never thought I would end up in research.

I always saw myself as a ‘real’ midwife - being out there with the women. But I kept thinking that it didn’t seem right that there were so many women coming back into hospital with an infected caesarean section (CS) wound.

Like most people on the frontline, it felt as though a lot of the time we were fire-fighting and there wasn’t much time to be proactive. But I took a chance, wrote a proposal and went to talk to the managers about looking into the CS infections. They saw the benefit of doing this and agreed.

Once I started researching this area, I had even more questions than I had started with. And that was where it began. I wanted to be able to answer some of these questions and answer them from the perspective of someone on the frontline who knew the reality of the situation.

I did a four month clinical academic careers internship to see if combining research activity and clinical practice was for me, and I loved the experience.

As I write this, I’m halfway through a Masters in Health Research. I know that everything I’m learning will be used to improve women’s care and experience, and help midwives do the right thing for them. 

A clinical academic career isn’t for everyone. But if you have a passion to investigate and change things that matter in your area of practice and are willing to work for it, this could be the path for you too. 

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