Posted by: medicblog999 | September 12, 2010

Taking steps to lead change.

For those of you that follow me on twitter (@UKMedic999), you will already know that I am about to start a three year course of study in the next couple of weeks. However, due to my break from blogging, I havent been able to share my good news with the rest of you yet.

Last month, I found out that I had been successful in my application for a fully funded three year scholarship for a part time Masters Degree in Clinical Research at the prestigious Newcastle University Medical School. Now, I know that some of you will think that is pretty cool, but I am also aware that probably more of you will think that sounds like a nightmare!

Clinical research isnt for everyone, its not generally seen as a ‘sexy’ subject to through yourself into, but I am more than a little bit excited and raring to get started.

I thought it would be interesting to share with you my personal statement from the back of my application form. This should hopefully let you at least understand the rationale that brought me to the decision to apply for this course.

EMS 2.0 is all about change. I decided to try and be one of the ones leading the change, and having this knowledge behind me is going to make me far more likely to bring in some of the changes that I want to see. Its going to be a tough three years, but I really think it is going to be worth it!

Anyway, here is my statement. What do you think?

“Throughout my health care career since 1992, I have always been ‘research aware’ and have enjoyed reading studies to enhance my knowledge, understanding and practice, to make me a more rounded and critically thinking practitioner. I had an early grounding in research awareness through my Diploma in Adult Nursing and that has remained with me to this day, allowing me to critique papers that I read, and to not just accept the writing on the page in front of me as the ‘latest and greatest innovation or advancement in best practice’.

In 2009, after my service appointed a Research Facilitator, I contacted her to suggest an idea for a potential pre-hospital study. Within a very short time, I was part of a significant group of highly academic research professionals working towards taking my initial idea forward for a funding proposal for a multi-centre project. Whilst this was an exciting time, it was also extremely daunting. Being around such highly skilled and trained academics made me very quickly realise a lack in my abilities and knowledge surrounding clinical research. I have the ideas, but I do not yet have the skills to take them forward to the point where I may actually get to influence patient care for the better. That is the reason why I have applied for this course of Study with this University.

Newcastle University has a long and distinguished reputation for its Medical School and Biomedicine faculty, and to be able to study in such an environment with access to such educators and facilities will, I believe, provide me with the framework to advance my own knowledge to the level where I can lead and champion research projects within my own service and the wider pre-hospital care network throughout the United Kingdom.

Over the last 12 months I co-created, and was part of a significant media project based on a transatlantic review of pre-hospital care from operational paramedics. I have travelled to the USA five times this year and have been exposed to a fantastic array of best practices throughout the United States and the World. My head is full of ideas and experience which can bring advances to the way that we, as paramedics, provide care to our patient population; but without the knowledge and skills to move these ideas forward in a structured and academic fashion, they will remain only thoughts and aspirations instead of advances in clinical care for patients in the United Kingdom. I regularly communicate with practitioners throughout the United States who themselves are passionate about research and this has rubbed off on me to the point where I am actively seeking out ways and means for myself to become more involved in this side of my profession.

Unfortunately, Clinical Research is not seen as an exciting option for many pre-hospital ambulance service practitioners. It is always perceived as something that is boring, not relevant or just too ‘highbrow’ for those who may have fantastic ideas, to become involved in. I see it as part of my responsibility after completing this course to take the message of research to the operational staff and facilitate research thinking into their daily practice through making it accessible on a practical level so that they can see that it has an impact on the way that they care for their patients. I want to be one of the team that listen to staff telling each other how the job can be done better, then helping them take their ideas forward and actually make changes.

My priority in my career is to my patients. I would expect nothing less of myself than ensuring that I am always up to date, professional, efficient and effective with my care. I want to ensure that my patient has the best experience that they can have in sometimes very difficult circumstances. After completing this course, I can move forward to think about making that health care experience just as good or even better for a lot more patients than just the one that is in front of me on a day to day basis. I want to be part of a forward thinking, proactive and dynamic  Ambulance Service Research team leading the way for pre hospital care within the UK and contributing to health care advances throughout the world.

Historically, research has not had a place in frontline Ambulance Services. As a profession, we are far behind our friends in the Multi-Disciplinary team when it comes to research. It’s about time that changed.”


  1. If this isn’t an example of “Dedication to Duty”, then I don’t know what is. I wish you the best of luck with this endeavor, and look forward to reading your updates about this. I expect nothing less than “exemplary” from you, Mark, as I’m sure everyone who knows you does.

  2. Mark,

    you are absolutely right on. This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for both you and the NEAS.

  3. Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations Mark! I hope this turns out to be everything you hope for!

  5. Mark, congratulations for being accepted into the program. I wish you luck with this. I know you will do yourself and your family proud, not to mention your profession. You are a man of action and will make an even larger imprint than you already have on your profession going foward. XOXOXO You have already made us proud and now you will make us prouder.

  6. Ah awesome, did it have to be the dreaded 4000 characters long?

  7. Congratulations hope you enjoy the course!!

  8. Congratulations Mark.
    Good luck, and enjoy it.

  9. Mark you are a true professional and this will be just another feather in your cap to show just how much you walk the walk…

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