In 2017 I was discussing the ups and downs of a career in Neonatology with my long time mentor Dr Vincent Kirkbride (Sheffield, UK). I’ve always had a passion for research projects and service improvements alongside the satisfaction clinical care on the NICU provides. We reflected together on exceptional advances and frustrating limitations in the way we currently deliver care and mused on “what if…” projects which can so often go imagined but unrealised alongside a busy working life.
A consultant during my junior trainee years (Dr Don Sharkey – another inspirational character on my journey) once explained to me that his academic career was inspired in no small part by the potential reach of academic ventures. Clinical Neonatal Medicine caring for babies born “too small, too sick or too soon” offers incredible opportunities to improve the lives of many, but research and innovation has the potential to touch many more than you could meet in a lifetime on a neonatal unit. I never forgot that sentiment. So that day in one office, reflecting back on discussions many years previously in another, the existence of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was brought to my attention. “Just something to think about” said Dr VK.
And so it began. What if I could undertake an exploration of hands on practices, processes and outcomes for the care of extremely premature babies? What if I visited world leading centres and learned with, from, and about them? What if I tried to identify tangible translations and adaptations of their practices for the benefit of vulnerable preterm babies in the UK? An idea, a proposal, a selection process, funding awarded, planning and now execution! I will say it took a little longer to achieve all that than it did to write it down…
I’m absolutely thrilled to be a Churchill Fellow. I am incredibly passionate about the project I’ve proposed and can’t wait to experience the travels, relationship building and research this venture could bring. I envisage this being an incredible personal journey as well as a professional one. I hope to bring back some tangible, very practical ideas to the incredible teams we have in the NHS, and look at how we can integrate these towards improving outcomes for babies in the UK.
Exploring Quality Improvement Internationally for Preterms #EQuIIP