CL in Respiratory Medicine
Dr Nick Talbot (2018)
Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship
My interest in research predated my decision to read medicine. As an undergraduate, my first degree was Physiological Sciences, and I went on to complete a DPhil in physiology before reading medicine as a second degree. Since graduating, I have moved through the NIHR’s academic training pathway, initially as an Academic Foundation Programme trainee, and then as an academic clinical fellow for my core medical training. After a few years back in full-time clinical work, training at registrar level in respiratory and general medicine, I moved into my current clinical lecturer post.
What does the work involve?
My time as a clinical lecturer has been organised in alternating six-month blocks of academic and clinical work. During clinical blocks I work full-time as a specialist registrar, either in Oxford or in one of the district general hospitals around the region. During academic blocks, I have pursued my longstanding research interest in the effects of iron on cardiorespiratory function, as well as working on a project exploring a new method for measuring lung function in patients with respiratory disease. I am also involved in teaching medical students, mainly in the preclinical setting.
Being a CL can certainly be hard work, but it is a great privilege to have the chance to combine medicine and research. Clinical training posts are very busy, and although there are opportunities to get involved in research, there is limited scope for developing as an independent researcher. The protected research time offered by a CL post has given me the chance to start shaping my own research agenda, while still progressing my clinical training. This has cemented my desire to combine academic and clinical work in the future, and provides a great platform from which to attempt this.
I could be accused of being a little unadventurous, having undertaken most of my clinical and scientific training in Oxford to date! There are of course fantastic opportunities elsewhere, but the research environment here is excellent. A particular attraction for me was the chance to continue working within a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians, trying to move some of our longstanding basic-science projects towards advances in patient care. I also enjoy teaching, and Oxford offers plenty of opportunity to pursue this interest.