TIRED: My Slice of the PI

Author: Leia Kane / Editors: Rob Hirst, Govind Oliver / Codes: CC20, HAP29, SLO10 / Published: 05/11/2020

I’m not sure I actually knew what a Principle Investigator (PI) was or what it would involve when I signed up to be PI for the TIRED study in Aberdeen.  I was at home doing some really important Twitter CPD and I decided to fill in the sign-up form the TERN team had circulated.  Best to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

There is an ongoing recruitment and retention crisis within the NHS and as much as I love working in Emergency Medicine, I worry about the sustainability of my career choice. I loved the concept of ‘Need for Recovery’ and the TERN philosophy of producing practice-changing research by utilizing a national network of trainees in Emergency Medicine. 

My time with TIRED

To date, I hadn’t been on an academic training programme. For several years
my e-portfolio personal development plan featured “try to engage in research”.  It had always appealed to me, but between moving around between training posts and not managing to make contact with the right people, I had made zero progress over a number of years.  Research, prior to getting involved with TIRED, continued to be some kind of mythical beast for me!

The process to set up TIRED as a local PI was easy.  Most of the necessary paperwork was sent to the appropriate places by the (then) TERN fellow Tom. I just had to keep an eye out, make sure nothing else was required and liaise with local research teams.  Any time I had any questions there was always someone within the TERN network that knew the answer.  Getting involved in setting this up locally was a great way to start becoming familiar with study design, protocols and to begin engaging with local research and development teams and the invaluable research nurses!  

During the recruitment period, I did not stop talking about Need For Recovery!  I think being really enthusiastic about the project helped gain buy in from everyone else.  I was really proud that the majority of medical staff took part in the study. On the whole, staff engagement has remained high for the other TERN projects, SHED and CERA.  As a department we have had over 30 medical staff GCP-trained and recruiting to various COVID studies, and we hope that routine engagement in research from medical staff becomes embedded in our everyday practice.   

How TERN & TIRED has helped me

Taking on the PI role for TIRED has been a bit of a door-opener for me.   Around the time of getting set up for TIRED, our local research lead pounced on my interest and I’ve been involved in a number of other clinical research projects within the department that have been a huge success. My involvement in these projects has ranged from data collection through to international presentations. It has been phenomenal to get more experience and exposure to the wider research world. 

Academic medical careers in Scotland work slightly differently than in England and there are regional variations which confuse matters further. While 2020 continues to be a bit bizarre in terms of training and professional development my hope is to move onto a Scottish Clinical Research and Excellence Development Scheme (SCREDS) post.  This will allow me to continue my training in Emergency Medicine but with 20% protected and supported research with a particular interest in positive psychology and non-technical factors affecting practice in emergency medicine.

The Future

There has undoubtedly been some fantastic research come out of the pre-hospital and emergency care world over the last few years.  With such rapidly evolving systems and a whole host of new problems heaped on us with the COVID-19 pandemic I am sure that research in emergency medicine will continue to grow to meet the demands of the research needs. There are now some fantastic resources available on the RCEMLearning website that are super helpful in demystifying the research beast. I would encourage anyone looking to get involved or to find out more to reach out to the wonderful EM research community and someone will be able to help you out.  I’m proud to be part of TERN.  The prospect of future research collaborations is something I very much look forward to.  If you want to get involved you should definitely get in touch.

To read the inaugural TERN manuscript, click here

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