I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a palliative medicine registrar working in the West Midlands and have particularly valued the opportunities for non-clinical development, including education and research. The combination of local organisations: WMCARES, the West Midlands Clinical Research Network, and encouragement from senior clinicians interested in research, encouraged me to embark on a project I was passionate about.
Prior to this experience, I had been somewhat naïve to the world of research and publications and had little experience in how to approach such an area. Having had personal experience of interpreters distressed, sharing their own stories after palliative care encounters, my colleagues and I felt this was an area that needed addressing urgently.
We were inspired to explore the emotional effects on professional interpreters of interpreting palliative care conversations. It was the encouragement of senior clinicians to develop this idea into a research project. The involvement of an experienced academic colleague was instrumental in guiding us.
With regular meetings, we were able to carve out our research question for a rapid review of the literature, to determine a search strategy and work together to extract data, appraise articles and perform a thematic analysis of the results. Prior to this, I had very little experience in this area and so the support of experienced team members was key in navigating the process. Colleagues were also instrumental in maintaining energy and enthusiasm through the many write ups and revisions before the final article was published.
We were also able to present our findings at the WMCARES annual research showcase. WMCARES is a trainee led research collaborative in the West Midlands, aiming to conduct and publish research in the region and linking trainees in with colleagues who have interest/experience in relevant areas. The annual showcase is a fantastic platform to share research and network with others.
Having been someone who originally had felt clueless in the world of research, I have found this project extremely rewarding – being able to advocate for interpreters, whose contribution is so integral. I am grateful for the colleagues and organisations that encouraged and supported us through this opportunity and would encourage others to get involved in similar endeavors. There is a wealth of experience in the West Midlands and a real desire to facilitate interest and involvement in research.
Dr Jen Hancox (ST4, Palliative Medicine)