‘Our First Year Heard’ – curating the experiences of first-year medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

 

By Louis Davenport, Medical Student, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol

My name is Louis Davenport, and I am a second-year medical student at the University of Bristol. I am the organiser of ‘Our First Year Heard’, a student art collection showcasing the effects of COVID-19 on first-year medical students.

The seed of the idea came from an extremely intense, one might say uncomfortable, experience that I had in the dissection room in my first year at medical school. While I am not particularly artistic myself, I made use of poetry to help process the experience and wrote several drafts of what would become What’s in front of you. From there I thought, why not collect the experiences of first-year medical students who might similarly wish to share them with other medical students and the wider public? Capturing the unique experiences of people who … Read more

Twists, turns and persistence: my path from nursing to research

by Dr Cindy Mann, Research Fellow, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

Cindy Mann, a former nurse and now Research Fellow at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol, shares the twists and turns in her career, and encourages nurse colleagues to consider research as a future path and not be put off by setbacks.

A long and varied career

I have had a long career, starting in 1975, when I did my nurse training at Leeds General Infirmary. In 1977 I got married and after completing training followed my husband to Oxford where I took a job as a staff nurse at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. I then decided to do a Philosophy degree in Oxford, and really enjoyed the peace and quiet of working in a library, in contrast to ongoing shifts for the nurse bank. In the following years, up … Read more

Curiosity and imagination: building blocks on my path to research

 

 

by Alastair Hay, Professor of Primary Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

I became a GP in 1997 and was appointed professor of primary care at the University of Bristol in 2013.

As a child, I was an avid Lego® player and reader of ‘how things work’ books. I was state-educated and did not enjoy school until my ‘A’ levels. I enjoyed the conceptual challenge of mathematics and, in 1985, was offered a place at Birmingham University to study maths and psychology. My results were better than I expected, so I withdrew and applied for medicine, securing a place at Sheffield.

I was initially disappointed by the course because of the lack of conceptual challenges. I was expected just to absorb lots of knowledge. Later, as I took responsibility for patient care, the application of knowledge became the interest. I did not intercalate … Read more

International Women’s Day 2021 – Q&A with Dr Alison Gregory

As a research centre, we are proud to host a fantastic team specialising in sexual and domestic violence and abuse and their impacts on health. What better way to mark this year’s International Women’s Day than to focus on the work of an outstanding member of the team, Dr Alison Gregory, whose recent investigations have focused on the role of friends, family, neighbours and colleagues (informal supporters) in the lives of domestic abuse survivors.

In this Q&A, Alison reflects on the challenges of working on a sensitive topic with a vulnerable population group, made all the more critical during this time of pandemic and the ‘shadow’ pandemic, which has seen rates of domestic abuse soar globally.

Your research activities have focused on Covid-19 recently. Could you tell us a little more? 
I’ve been researching the role of friends, family members, neighbours, and colleagues (informal supporters) in the lives of … Read more

Finding the best moisturiser for eczema – the impact research can have on everyday lives

Zoe Wilkins

 

 

by Zoe Wilkins, Trial Administrator, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

It’s safe to say that I knew little about eczema before working as an administrator on the Best Emollients for Eczema (BEE) trial and even less so about emollients, the different types of moisturiser used to treat the condition.

My own children occasionally suffered with very mild eczema; tiny patches here and there that would clear up with a couple of days of moisturisation. So, it was only after starting work on the trial that I began to understand the complexity of this condition. Some suffer seasonal ‘flare-ups’, for others year-round torment, which can be triggered by many different factors.

Although I knew that if you had eczema it was important to keep skin moisturised, I had not heard of the word ‘emollient’ before. Emollient is the medical word for moisturiser and comes in … Read more

A GP reads ‘The Plague’ during the COVID-19 pandemic

Prof Gene Feder

 

 

by Gene Feder, GP and Professor of Primary Care, Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol

The Plague, a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, tells the story of Oran, a city struck by bubonic plague. It was an extended metaphor for living under fascism and the way society and individuals behave under occupation.

I found an English translation at the back of a book shelf, having first read it as a teenager over half a century ago. On the title page there is a stamp: ‘Rainbow Library Salzburg THIS BOOK IS A [sic] PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES’. My father – working with Holocaust* survivors in Germany and Austria – must have forgotten to return it.

In 2020, it turns out that the book – partially – exemplifies our response to the pandemic du jour: COVID-19.

Everybody knows that pestilences have

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Public involvement in health research: what it’s like, what I’ve learned, and why it matters

 

 

Interview with Louise Ting, Member of the Centre for Academic Primary Care Patient and Public Involvement Steering Group

Louise Ting has been involved in service delivery and health research from a patient and public perspective for over six years. She has a passion for ensuring that patient and public involvement (PPI) is done properly and is meaningful both for researchers and for public contributors. Louise is a member of the PPI Steering Group at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol.

How did you find out about public involvement in research?

I first heard about public involvement when there was a large-scale commissioning exercise in Bristol for procuring the next set of mental health services in the city. They were asking people who had used services in the past to give their views and help assess the different bids by potential providers.

There were lots … Read more

Struggling to write? Start your own writers’ retreat!

by Dr Jessica Watson
NIHR Doctoral Senior Clinical Research Fellow
Centre for Academic Primary Care
@drjessicawatson

 

Have you ever planned to do some writing, only to find yourself distracted by emails and ‘urgent’ tasks? Do you find you have a growing list of unpublished papers and grant proposals to write? Does it feel as if there is never enough time to get going with your writing?

As academics, writing is arguably our most important task. The mantra ‘publish or perish’ is not just a matter of prestige and a means to academic career progression. Nor is it simply about keeping our University rankings within the Research Excellence Framework. It is an ethical imperative.

Most medical research is funded either through taxpayers’ money or through charitable donations and relies on the trust and goodwill of voluntary research participants. This is both a privilege and responsibility. We must ensure that money … Read more