The importance of homegrown research

Meet Rebekah Girling, our Divisional Research Lead for Clinical Support Services and Imaging Research Lead Diagnostic Radiographer.

Rebekah joined NNUH as a Radiographer in August 2007, specialising in CT and MRI. In 2013, she ventured into research as the Lead Imaging Research Radiographer, funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

In 2018, Rebekah’s commitment to facilitating research within the hospital led her into the additional role of Research Lead for the Division of Clinical Support Services. In this role, she focuses on providing support to Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) and non-medical personnel, mentoring staff and overseeing the various research projects within the division.

“I saw an uncultivated opportunity to make a change, to make the services better for the patient and increase the amount of research that we can do. One of the best parts about my work is about being able to support others and NNUH to constantly evolve and improve patient care,” said Rebekah.

“I really enjoy mentoring our staff at the NNUH, and I’m excited to continue expanding research involving AHPs and clinical professionals.”

“Research at NNUH is a strategic objective. We perform research to make healthcare more reliable and cost-effective, and as a professional, you get to widen your horizons in terms of your thinking. Research active trusts are shown to have better outcomes for their patients.”

Rebekah is passionate about getting more non-medical staff involved in research within NNUH. She added: “There are lots of exciting new fields of research emerging across the healthcare sector, one of the main ones that we would really like to look into is how Artificial Intelligence can improve patient outcomes.

“We’d love to see more non-medics become the Principal Investigators for our research trials because it’s so important to get the widest number of perspectives possible when it comes to research.

“There are a wide range of schemes that are designed to help people get involved in all aspects of the research we do here at NNUH.”

As a formal mentor, Rebekah actively supports various schemes, including the Greenshoots scheme. “The Greenshoots scheme is a great way for people without a background to get started in the world of research. The scheme can help you gain valuable research skills to help further your career and increase the opportunities you have to contribute a better healthcare service at the NNUH through research,” said Rebekah.

“Our ‘Greenshoots’ make a significant contribution to the studies by taking on the role of a Principal Investigator, with support from the regional research institute.”

“One of our successful Greenshoots applicants from the last cohort is an Occupational Therapist, who is set to become the Principal Investigator on the first flexor study, in which research will be undertaken by examining the patients’ recovery process with three different custom splints.”