Dual nationality as a clinical researcher.

(Image from http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog)


So just to clarify- I do already hold dual nationality. As I was born to a German father and a British mother I hold two passports. So being both researcher and clinician should be a breeze right!? I’ve been used to dealing with identity crisis since some football World Cup final when I was still at primary school (not sure which year or who won – so can’t have been that traumatising!).

However, I do sometimes wonder if being a research clinician makes me a bit of a pain for both researchers and clinicians alike. On the one hand I am a speech and language therapist who has worked with people in the NHS for yonks so I consider all research through these tinted spectacles. I ask questions of my research colleagues such as:

What are the clinical implications?

Is it going to have a direct impact on people and the health service?

Will it improve service provision?

How is this important in the ‘real’ world?

On the other hand I am also an SLT doing research- I have gone to the ‘dark side’ and am concerning myself with research methods and technical things. I am no longer in the trenches, nor on the front lines of the NHS. I am at UCL trying to push the mission from behind, to strategise with the other researchers. This also means I ask SLTs questions such as:

Could you write that piece of work up?

Have you thought of doing some research on this?

Would you consider helping me with my research?

Would commissioners look at that as useful?

I am frequently aware of my ‘dual nationality’. And although I may be annoying I have also realised the doors that can open much more easily with this status. I already carry a title of SLT. It gives me some credence in a health research arena. I have been able to transfer many skills- learning to communicate with consultant medics, nurses, administrators and family members can be applied to professors, lecturers, administrators and participants. I am also able to explore my future dynamically. I am missing my clinical work (I currently have small children and have decided to focus on juggling studies with home and not adding clinical to the mix for now). However I am looking forward to exploring a future where I can be both researcher and clinician. How exciting to have this other avenue of my career to explore- a world of different opportunities.