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When students undertake internships with WarwickSMT, we ask students to submit a blog regarding their experiences. This includes comments about the struggles they face, the developments they recognise they are making and the impact their work is having on the wider community. We are currently supporting our first round of internships, with some of the blog entries below:

Roger Yau, INSPIRE/SMT intern 2020:

The INSPIRE internship has been a highly valuable experience for me. I have improved many skills and gained knowledge across disciplines by meeting different people such as academics, healthcare staff, and managerial staff at the hospital. These range from the process of applying for full ethical approval to learning how to interview healthcare staff. It is already evident that this experience will be highly beneficial not only professionally but also in my personal life. My project involved evaluating a service, Patient Connect, which was introduced in the hospitals to help patients communicate with their family and loved ones. The work is highly rewarding as it has a direct impact on patients and their stay at the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that we can share this learning and bring our service to other Trusts so that all patients can benefit from Patient Connect. I have been very fortunate in that the Patient Contact team has been happy for me to continue working with them after my internship had ended, with the potential for publishing several papers and presenting at an international conference. This will be a fantastic addition to my portfolio upon applying for foundation year and specialty posts.

Ruth Hodson, INSPIRE/SMT intern 2020:

Before involvement in the INSPIRE project, my research experience was fairly limited, having previously written a literature review for my masters degree. I would say I had some very basic skills in searching for literature and in writing. I hope that through the INSPIRE project I will be able to further develop these skills and to hopefully get a piece of work published. After thinking about what I could review, I mentioned my interest in surgery to my supervisors; Frances Griffiths and Simon Brake. They then put me in contact with another student, Tom Dale MacLaine who has experience in surgery research and suggested I should look into anatomical landmarks in laparoscopic cholecystectomy. I have enjoyed read lots of papers on this topic and I find the subject area very interesting. I am excited to further develop a title for my systematic review.

This week I was tasked with writing a draft protocol and have learned about Prospero – a place to register systematic reviews. Next week I plan to meet with my supervisors with my draft protocol.

After hours of reading this week, I realised how much time and effort goes into research and gained a newfound respect for academics and researchers