How we got our jobs in healthcare research


This week, Alice and Liv, both psychology graduates, tell us about how they secured their placements with the Yorkshire and Quality Safety Team This team conduct research into how to to solve patient safety problems. The offer some great insights into this field and include top tips for anyone who is thinking about going on placmement.

Alice: Liv and I, both of us coming from Psychology degrees- work as Research and Implementation Assistants for the Yorkshire and Quality Safety Team. This team is made up of researchers who aim to develop and evaluate innovative solutions to patient safety problems. Our role within this is very diverse but primarily we work to support the team in their various projects. This has meant getting involved at all stages of the research process, from reviewing literature, to going into hospitals and conducting the research to then analysing data.

Any previous experience and why we applied:

Olivia: I have worked as a mentor for ex-offenders with autism project for the SOVA charity and also briefly as an applied behaviour analysis tutor for a teenager with autism. I had no previous experience in a research environment only experience gained through the projects and research skills modules in my Psychology course. I think that my involvement in psychology related roles expressed my interest; I feel it is important to remember that as a young person without a degree or qualifications it would be extremely difficult to have experience in roles such as research and it can’t be expected of you in most cases. I have found that it’s more important to just be able to show you have genuine interest in the area and have got involved where possible.
Alice: Like Liv, I had little previous research experience apart from that which I had taken from my studies in Psychology. However I found that even this experience has not only been helpful to me whilst on placement but also within the application and interview stages for this role as I could describe research that I had conducted within my degree that I found interesting in order to show my passion for research. So when applying for placements it’s not necessarily an issue if you don’t have any previous experience if you can show the links to your degree and your enjoyment of that area. Whilst I don’t have research experience I have worked within the charity sector as a Fundraising Coordinator for Antara’s psychiatric hospital and as a Community volunteer for Victim Support. Even these non-related roles helped in the interview process as I could pull upon experiences within these to answer typical interview questions like ‘how have I overcome difficulties in work’ for example.

What’s been good?

Alice: I know it might sound clichéd but one of the things I have enjoyed most about placement would be working within a passionate diverse team whom have created a very nurturing environment for us. Apart from the people, placement has been a great experience! The change from the student lifestyle whilst daunting to start with has been extremely refreshing; and I can already see what the benefits of being in a routine will be when I return to final year. Placement can feel like a fish out of water occasionally as new challenges are thrown your way, but this is incredibly gratifying and another thing that I have loved about doing it!

What’s been learned from it?

Liv: I would absolutely recommend applying for this placement! It enables you to meet academics of so many different areas of expertise as well as practicing healthcare professionals. If you have interest in psychological/health research it is a fantastic opportunity to work within a diverse team and develop interests in specific areas.

My knowledge has been improved in many areas, I have a much better understanding of the logistics of how research is conducted and what is needed for it such as funding. I have had the opportunity to be involved in almost all stages of the research process and feel that this has really helped to widen my understanding. I’ve learnt what it’s like to be a part of a team and also how to work with people on a range of different projects. Going out to conduct research myself on the wards in hospitals has been an experience in particular that I have learnt a lot from, it has developed my confidence which is a valuable thing in all possible situations. I think that the experience will help to motivate me in third year, it has definitely taught me to concentrate on tasks and get stuff done.

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Filed under Advice, How I got my job, Job Market, Work Experience

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