20 November 2023
Physiotherapist Jodie Fogg was one of our 2023 research interns. Here she reflects on her time with us and how it’s helped her career.
Having finished university as a qualified physiotherapist, it was now time for me to begin my career. In the final year of my Bachelor’s degree I was snowed under with work: a clinical placement, a dissertation, another essay and a presentation to do… why not add an application for a research internship too! But embarking on this research internship was a pivotal moment in my professional journey and turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had.
With no experience in research beside my dissertation, I thought that this internship would help to provide some potential career routes (even if this meant I realised I hated research!). With no strong preferences as to which speciality of physiotherapy I wanted to go into, I applied to this internship so that at least I would be able to tick “research physiotherapist” off my list of future careers. And I was lucky enough to do just that.
Based in a hospital / university hybrid research unit, my internship focused on orthopaedic research. With such a close relation to my physiotherapy background, I found interest in what I was surrounded by. It also linked closely with the acute trauma and orthopaedic placement I had completed while at university, which enabled me to reflect on my prior clinical practice.
While on this internship, I witnessed multiple different studies. It was particularly interesting for me to see how research was applied in practice when I shadowed some post-operative clinics that had been proven by research to be effective.
As the different studies were at different stages of the research process, I gained a good perspective overall on how research was carried out. This was aided by working closely with the research delivery teams. I was able to network with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, both in personal and professional aspects, and the ability to form connections that will likely be valuable throughout my career.
I learnt things about research that I didn’t even predict I would! I got to learn about and witness research co-production: the amalgamation of clinician, researcher and patient involvement. While I knew it was important to involve patients in their own care, I had never thought about how this worked within research. My experience in co-production projects was invaluable in broadening my perspective of healthcare research. I was even lucky enough to be involved with a nationwide project which should hopefully be published soon!
So, what’s next for me? Since doing my research internship, I am now working in an acute hospital completing my physiotherapy rotations.
If this research internship has taught me anything, it’s that nothing is as you imagine it. So I want to experience as many different areas of physiotherapy I can, until I find the career path that I truly want. But for now, I can safely say that I would love to be a research physiotherapist, particularly if I can keep involved in clinical practice.
Research isn’t just clinicians in white lab coats looking through microscopes. It’s academics, healthcare professionals, administrative staff and patients, working in offices, clinics, homes and communities. And now research includes me; a 21-year-old physiotherapy graduate.