June 2017 Profile: Jude Partridge
As part of its strategy to promote high-quality research, the BGS Research and Academic Committee (RADC) encourages researchers to tell readers about their research journey - how they were drawn to research (or fell into it!); the obstacles they encountered on their journey; the effect of the journey on their self- and career development, and the lessons that they believe might help those following the same path.
In this article, we feature Jude Partridge. She is a geriatrician working in the Proactive care of Older People undergoing Surgery (POPS) team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London. She has a full time clinical role with one NHS funded R&D session allowing her to continue her research interests.
“Throughout my registrar training I was keen to undertake a full time research role in order to learn more about the processes of conducting health services research and ideally, to do so away from the demands of clinical medicine.
Despite several attempts to secure a research post in two deaneries (I transferred from Wessex to London half way through training), I eventually found a research job towards the end of my registrar rotation at Guy’s and St Thomas’. The position was funded for 12 months from the remainder of a charitable grant originally awarded for the scoping, development and embedding of the POPS service. With no funding beyond the first year, there was an obvious need to define the research questions I would be addressing, refine the methodology and conduct observational work in a timely fashion.
During this year I learnt about the importance of goal setting – in this case, making sure I obtained further grant funding to continue the work. Thankfully I managed to secure a fellowship from the British Geriatrics Society, Research into Ageing and Age UK, which enabled me to complete a PhD. This grant allowed us to scope the research questions with observational studies and then to undertake a randomised controlled trial examining the impact of preoperative Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment and optimisation in older patients undergoing elective arterial vascular surgery.
During my protected time as a research fellow I gained skills in research methodology but of equal importance, I developed other transferable skills. I learnt about co-design and co-production with patients and carers, the intricacies of ethics and Research and Development approval, the application of various methodologies, the use of research guidance in the design of studies and I developed skills in statistics and health economic analysis. I also had the chance to practice other more generic skills including, writing, forging collaborations, establishing databases, efficient time management, managing administrative tasks and presenting. I learnt more about how to become an effective supervisor which has helped me in both my NHS and research roles.
As we are all aware, it has become relatively straightforward in the UK to secure a consultant post in geriatric medicine without needing to complete a higher degree. This is a missed opportunity for geriatric medicine. Not only does it mean that geriatricians do not gain skills in research methodology, but it also compounds the issue of older multimorbid patients being excluded from ‘real world’ research.
As a speciality we should generate an infrastructure which supports exposure to research for the majority, rather than the few, early on in our careers. This would improve the academic credentials of our specialty but, more importantly, would lead to improvements in clinical outcomes for our patients.”
Consultant Physician, POPS
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust