Job Title: Consultant Physician Geriatrics and Stroke
For the last 8 years I have been an NHS Consultant specialising in Stroke Medicine. My work crosses treating patients in clinical practice with researching new investigations and techniques to treat and rehabilitate people with neurological injury.
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are clinical days where I undertake ward rounds, clinics, family meetings and train junior doctors. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my designated research days involving designing studies and recruiting/reviewing research patients. I also use this time to meet with MSc, PhD and academic fellow students to progress their projects and facilitate patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) meetings.
I have been involved in numerous studies involving those related to COVID-19 during the pandemic. These include looking into the effects of the Coronavirus in the elderly, the effects of exercise in rehabilitation after Stroke, the use of AI for arrhythmia detection and the effects of Remote Ischaemic Conditioning (RIC) in Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and muscle function.
Here in Sheffield we are proud to be part of an International multi-centre study (CovidCollab) looking at age and frailty, and how these factors are associated with increased COVID-19 mortality and care needs. This furthered our understanding of the illness, including the likelihood of being discharged to an institutionalised centre such as a care home.
We successfully adjusted and optimised our studies to enable on-going recruitment, which was a huge accomplishment as there is a constant need for the investigation of new and exciting treatments for neurological injury. I also had the pleasure of working with new colleagues, such as Dr Siva Nair, who selflessly gave their time out to work on the COVID wards to aid Stroke rehabilitation.
One thing I’ve learnt during the pandemic is that I don’t necessarily have to do all my work from the office; home working can often lead to an improved work/life balance. Similarly, patients and relatives can participate in research from home in various ways, an option which wasn’t previously as available. It’s really opened our eyes as to how we can reach out to involve people in research.
Without clinical research, our practice would be quite antiquated. If I wasn’t involved in research, I would certainly be somehow looking to optimise the patient experience and how care is delivered.
My belief in the interventions we are investigating offers endless motivation. Those who I work with have given up a lot of their time and effort, from the PPIE groups who help with study design to the participants and their families; they provide me with the drive to find ways to improve and ease the lives of our patients.
Our participants have repeatedly supported our research during the pandemic, and become keener to not only get studies up and running but also get them to a finishing point, with the ultimate aim of putting these useful therapies we are researching into clinical practice. I’d like to express my gratitude for this dedication.