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Health & Social Care Research Across North East & North Cumbria.

Raheel's Research Story

Raheel's Research Story

Raheel Ahmed says...

"As a researcher, your published work has the potential to make a global impact on a lot of people for a long period of time."

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How did you get started in research/what inspired you?

As a physician and clinician, no matter how good you are with your patients or how good a ward round you do, the impact of your work is limited to the local region and to a particular time. As a researcher, your published work has the potential to make a global impact to a lot of people for a long period of time. This is what drives me to be a researcher.

What people/organisations did you get in touch with to help you?

To undertake good research, one should be at the right place with the right people. I was fortunate to experience this at medical school. Supervisors with a good academic track record working at renowned institutions can be a source of wonderful mentorship. I approached and made appointments with many of them and benefited from their advice. In addition, immediate senior colleagues who are training registrars and currently in research can be an equally great source of advice too. Listening to their experience and what worked for them and what did not meant that I was ready before undertaking my own research work.

To be specific, after completing my MRCP (UK) in the first few months of CT1, I had a lot of free time. I got in touch with some academic cardiologists from Mayo Clinic, USA and have been working with them on secondary database work.

I am currently setting up CoNNeCT Cardiology (a Collaborative Nationwide Network of Cardiologists in Training). I decided to set up the collaborative after a research themed teaching session, delivered by Dr Helen Ingoe to regional cardiology registrars. I noted that cardiology practice is heavily evidenced-based but surprisingly it has no trainee-led research collaborative group. This is both at a national and regional level. A group of like-minded cardiology registrars, in combination with members from British Junior Cardiovascular Association (BJCA), have been approached to form the cardiology collaborative. The team is soon to advertise officially via the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) platform for a leader to take this project further.

Raheel Ahmed's top 3 tips

Research requires patience and perseverance. At times, the wheels turn much more slowly than in clinical practice. It is extremely important not to lose hope or enthusiasm because eventually, when the results are published or the data is presented at a conference, it can be very rewarding and a fulfilling experience.

Secondly, research requires a great deal of organisational skills. It is important to stay focused and give it the time that it demands. Making a list of tasks at the start and following them is important. It should be remembered, however, that sometimes what we want does not go to plan. If this happens, it’s important to be flexible and adapt to change.

Most importantly, having a strong knowledge of statistics is key. This can be learnt from Youtube too; not necessarily from formal statistical courses. There is a wealth of knowledge out there which is easily accessible. When you know stats, you can work on your projects at your own pace and without depending on others.