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The NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility (CRF) team were the most welcoming group of people I could have asked for. I completed this work experience remotely and was worried I would miss out on getting to know the team. This was absolutely not the case, as I was quickly added to lots of weekly meetings and heartily welcomed by the team and encouraged to get involved. I received so much support all round and everyone was so quick and willing to answer any questions I had.
My project supervisor was the amazing Dr Louise Oni who guided me every step of the way. Over the course of six weeks, I researched into the reading ability needed to understand medical information and whether there was an issue with how medical information was written at Alder Hey. What I discovered was that the UK on average has a reading ability of below the age of 11. Written medical information is given for all aspects of health. Health information is often given on a general level, for example about smoking and diet. It is also given when an individual is deciding on treatment options. With particular relevance to Alder Hey, written information is also given for clinical studies. An understanding of health literacy is needed in order to ensure the health of the individual. Therefore, it was important to analyse this to make sure that there were no issues with the accessibility to research at Alder Hey.
"Alder Hey strives not only for scientific excellence but also for the individuals"
I really enjoyed this project as there was a lot of medical relevance. I am a master’s student at the University of Liverpool for biological science. This project taught me an awful lot about how the CRF team work at Alder Hey and how important their research is. I would like to venture after my degree into the world of pharmaceuticals and so it was amazing to see what goes into clinical trials and the people behind them. I think it is amazing that Alder Hey strives not only for scientific excellence but also for the individuals. Making sure patients have a good experience is an area of focus at Alder Hey. My project is an example of the research put into ensuring every aspect of research runs smoothly.
In the end, I analysed parent information leaflets for 109 clinical studies at Alder Hey. This was no small feat, and I had the help of many individuals within the CRF team with obtaining these. Once my project ended I held a presentation to the CRF team. This was a really enjoyable experience and was very well received. Every step of the way with this project I felt like people wanted to get involved and showed high interest. After my project, many individuals in the CRF team had questions on how to improve the readability of health information and expressed how much they agreed with its importance. I had a very high sense of achievement in knowing how many people supported me and how many people were interested.
Overall, I had the absolute best experience conducting work experience with the CRF team at Alder Hey. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and to gain experience in an area I would like to have a career in. The support I received was incredible and it was a great team to work with.
Alder Hey Children's Charity