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ARC East Midlands researchers take part in NIHR campaign

An occupational therapist and a mental health nurse from Nottingham have shared how they ventured into the world of academia ahead of a national campaign.

The University of Nottingham’s Cate Bennett and Rachael Carroll are supporting the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s (NIHR) ‘Your Path in Research’ campaign (31 October – 14 November) by highlighting the benefits of an academic career.

After a 15-year career in occupational therapy, Cate Bennett received funding from the ARC East Midlands to pursue her postgraduate research ambitions.

Cate was the first social care Occupational Therapist in her Local Authority to study at postgraduate level and is now passionate about making sure people have access to learning.

She said: “I’ve had to reach out, push on doors, and challenge with tenacity to source opportunities. I can only thank organisations like NIHR who have supported me to study a PhD. It turns out my critical thinking skills are valued, they enhance strength-based system leadership, and link research to evidenced based practice which is vital in social care.”

Rachael Carroll opted for a career in academic research after working in the mental health sector for 26 years. In 2015, the mental health nurse got a job as a Research Fellow and started a PhD, which she finished in August 2021.

Rachael is now working in her post-doctoral research role as Research Fellow for the ARC East Midlands-supported DACHA study, which aims to develop research resources and a minimum data set for care homes’ adoption and use.

She said: “More healthcare professionals should consider research as it underpins good quality care. It provides the evidence we need for new innovations and for progressing practice. I’m proud of this country’s research community and to be doing my bit.”

“I would urge anyone to consider research, it’s rewarding, stimulating and engaging. Your Path in Research is a national campaign that highlights how people can make research part of their career.”

The campaign will direct public health and social care workers to the NIHR to find out the opportunities available to them.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti CBE, Director of NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “Cate and Rachael’s stories are a testament to their determination, perseverance and hard work in how they have taken their careers to the next level. The Your Path in Research campaign highlights how people can make research part of their journey, while at the same time enhancing their career and further adding to the evidence and knowledge base in health and social care.”

Published on: 14 Nov 2022