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Project researcher: Dr Helen Blamey, Academic Foundation Programme

Helen worked with the Global Anaesthesia Group on a qualitative project titled ‘Non-Physician Anaesthesia Providers’ (NPAPs) Perspectives on Task Sharing’.

Helen was keen to work with supervisors from whom she could learn and cement new skills from, alongside working towards a peer-reviewed publication. This was certainly the outcome she experienced!

The project was located in a low- and a middle-income country – Zambia and Somaliland – and involved participant interviews and focus groups via video/audio technology. The purpose of this study was to describe and understand non-physician anaesthesia providers’ current experience of task sharing. This was done firstly by exploring whether NPAPs regard task-sharing practices as taking place, and then exploring how they perceive them. With the collaborative nature of the research team, I was able to work with co-investigators in both Zambia and Somaliland, and experience the ethics application process both in Oxford and abroad. I learnt a whole new skillset through engaging with qualitative research, complemented by completing courses in this field with the Medical Sciences Division). Also, the link between this project and my first degree in human geography was really beneficial.

The project was not completed during my 4-month academic block, and I will be remaining involved in the project to its conclusion. I hope to remain involved with this research group in future projects. Securing a training job in anaesthetics in Oxford has enabled this to be possible.

August 2021