Following my BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy and seven years of clinical practice, I completed a Masters in Neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy. I moved into education as a Lecturer in Physiotherapy and in 2008 I moved to Keele University as a Research Physiotherapist (to the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in Primary Care). My role was to provide clinical input and start my research training in musculoskeletal trials and observational studies. My ambition was to complete a PhD.
In 2009 I was awarded a Research Training Support Award (pre-PhD) (2009-2010) from the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority and in 2012 I was awarded a NIHR/CNO Clinical Academic Training (CAT) Doctoral Research Fellowship (DRF) (2012-2016) to undertake my PhD on the diagnosis and classification of low back-related leg pain (LBLP) alongside working clinically as a spinal physiotherapist specialist in the Haywood hospital. My clinical and research interest in back pain, particularly sciatica continued with being awarded a HEE/NIHE Clinical Lectureship fellowship (2020-2024) where I am setting up a large multi-centre prospective observational cohort study involving patients with sciatica referred for a spinal epidural steroid injection. Having a joint clinical academic post meant I was eligible to apply for this fellowship.
My patient caseload includes primarily spinal pain patients and I draw on my research experience and knowledge of the evidence base when discussing diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options with patients and their family. I really enjoy the challenges and rewards of a combined clinical and academic post and consider myself very lucky to have this position. It allows me to put into practice the research evidence and generate new ideas for future research.