On the 23rd March 2021 I was lucky to celebrate two achievements simultaneously; passing my PhD viva and being awarded a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) / Health Education England (HEE) Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Post-Doctoral Bridging Fellowship.
I started my PhD studying “Pre-hospital pain management in children: A mixed methods study”, at the University of Lincoln in January 2018. This was funded by a NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands doctoral fellowship. Surviving the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and balancing a clinical academic career (working as a frontline paramedic one week per month for the three years) made passing the viva all the more rewarding. My doctoral supervisors; Professor Niroshan Siriwardena, Professor Graham Law and Associate Professor Pippa Hemingway from the University of Nottingham, were all excellent and guided me through the tough times. My PhD viva examiners; Professor Alicia O’Cathain (University of Sheffield), Adjunct Associate Professor Bill Lord (Monash University, Australia) and Associate Professor Ros Kane (University of Lincoln) all made me feel very much at ease. I passed the PhD viva subject to minor corrections.
Whilst awaiting my PhD viva, I applied for a NIHR/HEE ICA post-doctoral bridging fellowship. I was informed on the 11 Mar 2021 that I had been successful in my application, awarded through the University of Nottingham, conditional on passing my PhD viva with no or minor corrections. This admittedly added a little extra pressure on the PhD viva of course! The NIHR/HEE ICA post-doctoral bridging fellowship was awarded with East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust as the host organisation, the University of Lincoln as the Higher Education Institution and Professor Niroshan Siriwardena and Associate Professor Sarah Redsell (University of Nottingham) as mentors. The bridging fellowship will backfill my time, one day per week, allowing me to develop a competitive NIHR ICA Clinical Lectureship application. I plan to continue my research into pre-hospital pain management in children by building on my previous research, addressing current gaps in the evidence and developing interventions to improve the quality of care for children attended by ambulances.