"Working in six months academic and clinical blocks allowed me to fully immerse myself in my research for longer periods and also feel part of the clinical team during my clinical placements. However, clinical and academic life is never so clearly defined and I feel fortunate to have had very supportive clinical and academic supervisors who allowed me some flexibility over each block."
James Frith, NIHR CL
"I am a third year Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in Adult Psychiatry in Newcastle. Following a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Research in my first year I integrated clinical and academic work, rather than having separate ‘blocks’, and currently spend two days a week on research. I have clinical and research supervision on a weekly basis.
I am using my research time at the moment to finalise pilot data and strengthen my CV in order to hopefully obtain a PhD Fellowship. My laboratory time involves carrying out genetic and epigenetic techniques such as polymerase chain reaction and pyrosequencing. Away from the lab I have recently finished data extraction for a Cochrane review on dietary interventions and cognition and I am now writing a review paper on the treatment of depression with antiglucocorticoid medication. I try to apply for any awards and attend courses relevant to my current research interests. Part of my research has involved forging links with a team at the Max Planck Institute in Munich where I will be visiting for the second time later this year. I have taught regularly throughout the last 3 years; this has included small groups in schools, plenaries at Newcastle University and giving a talk to members of the public at a local cinema. For the last year I have also attended academic trainee committee meetings in the role of trainee representative.
A typical clinical day for me is spent in outpatient clinics at the Northern Centre for Mood Disorders (NCMD). My on-call duties mainly involve liaison psychiatry at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Freeman Hospital alongside Mental Health Act assessments on inpatient wards and in the community. However, as a psychiatry registrar much of my on-call work is (thankfully!) carried out from home."
Christopher Smart, ACF