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Case studies

Matthew Ayre, The University of Manchester

I am a final year PhD candidate and the second phase of my programme was funded by PRUK. The second phase of my PhD involved a study which was looking to understand the causes of preventable medication safety incidents affecting patients with mental illness in primary care. PRUK provided funds to support university, living, and associated research costs which helped ensure the project was delivered on time and to a high standard.

The study adopted a qualitative approach and to conduct data collection, analysis, and writeup, it required a breadth of research skills which needed to be developed and refined. First and foremost, funding enabled me to secure a healthy work-life balance which helped me to rebalance my external clinical hours with my PhD study time. Having increased hours dedicated to my PhD commitments allowed me to undertake additional training funded by PRUK. I was able to develop my qualitative interviewing techniques, enhance data collection/analysis skills, practice and perfect manuscript writing, disseminate my research, and gain more university teaching experience.

Going forward, I intend to utilise all of the skills I have acquired to shape a split clinical and academic career. It is my goal to be able to use my knowledge in clinical practice, as well as share my knowledge amongst university students to help train professionals of the future.

 

Matthew Adesuyan, University College London

In the pursuit of personal and professional development, I have always sought to challenge myself in new and innovative ways. This drive led me to undertake a PhD in pharmacoepidemiology at University College London. My research focuses on utilising electronic health records from GP practices to investigate the safe and effective use of medications in real-world populations. This new challenge has provided me with the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of pharmacy research leaders.

Recognising the importance to continually develop my research skills and capabilities, I applied for the PRUK research training bursary (Level 1).  This generous award funded several short courses in advanced epidemiological methods and the application of statistical software programming for complex analytical techniques. These courses gave me the essential skills and confidence to strategically plan, manage and execute my research projects from inception to completion. I became capable of independently conducting investigations, formal analyses and data curation for my studies.

During my PhD journey, the support from PRUK enabled me to make substantial contributions to the field of pharmacy research. I had the privilege of generating valuable new insights into drug therapies for the prevention and treatment of diseases. These contributions have been disseminated through several peer-reviewed publications in international journals, further reinforcing the impact of pharmacy research in the academic community.

The funding from PRUK also supported my attendance at an international conference, where I had the opportunity to present my research findings. This experience allowed me to network with fellow researchers, establish new working relationships and showcase the invaluable contribution of pharmacists to the realm of research on an international stage.

Looking ahead, I plan to continue my career in the field of research. The knowledge and experience gained through the courses funded by the PRUK bursary have empowered me to aspire to be a pharmacy research leader in the field of real-world evidence.

I am grateful to PRUK for their support and encourage all pharmacy professionals with a passion for research to consider applying for the PRUK bursary scheme.

 

Natalie Weir, University of Strathclyde

The research will build the evidence base for community pharmacy depression services. The importance of this is illuminated by the increasing prevalence of depression in UK. The research will consolidate the international evidence on community pharmacy-led depression services by conducting a systematic review. Thereafter, the research will identify which community pharmacy depression services should be a UK priority using a consensus method called the eDelphi technique, which will involve people with lived experience, healthcare providers, policy makers, third sector organisations and social workers.

The funding has supported me to become an established, independent researcher, and has allowed me time and focus to pursue a research topic I am passionate about. This was my first post-doctoral project where I led from initial conception and acted as Principal Investigator, which has involved adopting a plethora of new tasks such as Project Managing, developing a Project Advisory Group, and acting as a line manager for a Research Associate we hired. I am grateful that this experience has helped towards my progression from ‘researcher’ to ‘leader’.

This experience has acted as springboard to future research. I now supervise a PhD student who will feasibility test a community pharmacy depression service in practice building about the PRUK research. Our goal is for the service to be incorporated within community pharmacy contractual frameworks across the UK. I was also recently awarded a place on the NIHR GROW Mental Health Incubator programme which has connected me with researchers across the UK, which I’m certain was supported by this funding. In the future I wish to support PRUK through their mentoring programme or as a peer reviewer. My next steps are to apply for larger, more ambitious funding to increase the accessibility of mental heath care within the UK.

Robert Oakley, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The jointly funded PRUK and HEE-NIHR Pre-doctoral Clinical and Practitioner Academic Fellowship 09/22-24, is enabling me to develop a PhD proposal associated with antimicrobial personalisation in critically unwell patients. The PCAF contributes towards my salary for protected research time, conference, supervision and MRes fees. I am also grateful to have been awarded the PRUK Training Bursary, which has significantly assisted me given my financial situation. The Bursary covers my outstanding MRes in Antimicrobial Resistance costs and further contributes to conference/PPI activities.

To date, funding has empowered me to develop the skills required to construct and gain ethical approval for my feasibility study protocol. This provided me with an opportunity to develop my PPI expertise, methodological design considerations (including endpoint/sample size selection) and legislative knowledge https://classic.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05950984. Recruitment data collection and analysis is developing my transferable skills, which I am using to further establish the UKAR study at my hospital https://bsac-ukar.org/ as an associate Principal Investigator. My MRes/conference attendance has further provided me with specialist subject matter knowledge, skills and collaboration opportunities. Including a systematic review contribution, leading/publishing a qualitative study and published local/international quality improvement work (resulting in a National Patient Safety Award https://www.hqip.org.uk/news/caaw23-patient-safety-announce/). Such activities have contributed to an upcoming UK Clinical Pharmacy Association keynote speaker invitation at the Federation of Infection Societies conference.

The next step of my research is to continue facilitating my study and using results to learn advanced pharmacokinetic/statistical analysis techniques. I intend to publish an antimicrobial personalisation proof of concept arising from this work, which will support my PhD application and PPI focus group intentions. I will also draw on my supervisory team, implementation science, economic, digital, and clinical contacts from conferences. Together, we will co-develop an implementation strategy to embed into my envisaged PhD/consultant pharmacist outputs as part of my PhD proposal.