CL in Acute Medicine and Intensive Care
Dr Timothy Bonnici (2017)
Pathway to a Clinical Lectureship
I am a trainee in acute medicine and intensive care. Back in 2010, the Training Programme Director for acute medicine asked me to circulate a job advert for a clinical research fellow post on a project called Hospital of the Future. The job looked so interesting that I applied myself. That post was my first experience of research. After a three-year PhD I had a brief return to full-time clinical training and then went on to take up a CL post.
What does the work involve?
My research interest is in developing technologies to help identify and prevent inpatient deterioration. Research projects have involved assessment of wearable monitors, development of smart alerts based on machine learning, signal processing and software development. The work is multi-disciplinary and is carried out in conjunction with human factors scientists, software developers, statisticians and biomedical engineers. I have also had the opportunity to take some of our work through to being commercialised and deployed into other hospitals.
My week is split 50:50 between clinical medicine and research. My supervisors in both acute medicine and intensive care have been very helpful in organising my clinical rotas such that my clinical work can often be contained within 2 long-day shifts, allowing the research to take place over 3 days of the week. This arrangement allows me to work as part of a team in ongoing projects in a way that wouldn’t be possible if I had alternating blocks of solid clinical or academic work.
Working in academia is a stimulating, challenging and creative experience. At the same time, the clinical work is grounding, rewarding and provides a regular reminder of the needs of the staff and patients whose needs my research aims to serve. Being able to undertake both types of work makes for an exciting and enjoyable career.
However, juggling both halves of the job, as well as family life, can be tricky at times. Left unchecked, work has a tendency to suck up all one’s free time. Taking on the research also has the downside of reducing one’s salary. Good time management and financial planning definitely help.
The resources available to researchers in Oxford are second to none, the environment is vibrant and the opportunities to meet interesting people doing fascinating work are numerous. Why go anywhere else?