Eve Benfield is going into her fourth year of medicine and is currently completing a placement at DECIPHer via Cardiff University’s CUROP scheme
Having completed a project during the third year of my medicine degree about the bowel cancer screening programme in Wales, I developed a keen interest in public health. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to gain hands-on research experience during my summer break, I was thrilled to accept an eight-week placement within DECIPHer.
I am currently halfway through my placement, working within a small team on a project in partnership with Public Health Wales’ Healthy Working Wales programme. This is an incredibly valuable piece of research collaborating with policy and practice stakeholders, including Welsh Government. It involves interviewing a range of businesses based in Wales in order to explore what their priorities and concerns about the health and wellbeing of their workforce are. Their responses will then inform the future evaluation approach of the Healthy Working Wales programme, including supporting businesses to optimise and measure the progress of the health and wellbeing of their staff.
The placement has certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of pursuing a career in academia alongside my future clinical work as a doctor
I have felt incredibly welcomed and well-supported during my placement. My supervisors ensured that everything was well organised in time for my arrival, and I was given a breakdown of the tasks to be completed each week, allowing me to take ownership of my time in the office. My confidence with employing research methods and using new software has grown; so far, I have been involved in quality checking the interview transcripts, shadowing the interviews themselves, and performing qualitative analysis of the data by coding in NVivo. The placement has certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities of pursuing a career in academia alongside my future clinical work as a doctor.
There are five of us CUROP placement students within DECIPHer, and it’s been beneficial to be able to share this experience with the group. We are involved in a wide range of projects, so hearing about everyone’s unique experiences has given me a well-rounded insight into the research centre.
I would, without question, recommend applying to the CUROP scheme, and to projects within DECIPHer
I am excited about what the rest of the project will entail, notably the more in-depth analysis of the data and piloting of potential health and wellbeing measures with some of the businesses signed up to the project. I hope that the project will lead to further research opportunities for me, as well as the chance to present our findings at relevant conferences.
I would, without question, recommend applying to the CUROP scheme, and to projects within DECIPHer, especially. As a medical student, I have greatly appreciated being able to spend time within the School of Social Sciences and undertake work that I would not have otherwise been able to. The team have been so incredibly welcoming (there is no shortage of cake!) and I have been able to develop skills, such as qualitative research experience and conference poster designing, that are invaluable for my CV.
I would also like to extend a huge thank you to the staff working on the Healthy Working Wales project, as well as all the academic and support staff within DECIPHer, for the kindness and support that they have shown to me during the project.
Here’s to the next four weeks!