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Comment: 'Summer internship scheme will 'set you apart' from other graduates'

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Not sure what to do after you graduate? Matthew Collinson describes Arthritis Research UK’s two month internship scheme as “an ideal opportunity” for final year nursing students interested in research

When I saw the internships with Arthritis Research UK advertised during my final year I knew that I needed to apply, and if you want to develop your research and clinical skills before your first nursing role then I would urge you to do the same.

I took part in the scheme as a podiatry student after I graduated in 2014 having become interested in rheumatology and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions during my first year.

I spent my two-month internship at the University of Leeds and had the opportunity to visit the bioengineering department where joint implants were tested to destruction, and gain research experience with the teams in the gait and physiology labs in the sport science department and the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit at Chapel Allerton Hospital.

My project was centred on triathlon injury and took the form of an injury surveillance questionnaire and a series of qualitative interviews on athlete experiences of injury and injury prevention.

I had the opportunity to work with elite triathletes on the British team and amateur athletes.

As well as injury rates, we also looked at the medical help and injury advice that triathletes seek, and attempted to gain an understanding of the factors that influence their decision making.

During the internship, I was also able to visit other institutes involved with the internship scheme, and see the work that the other interns and research groups were involved in from laboratory based studies investigating the effects of osteoarthritis on skeletal muscle to the evaluation of smartphone apps for self-management of osteoarthritis.

These visits provided a valuable opportunity to network with the other interns and more senior researchers. My cohort of interns has kept in touch and I made a number of good friends during my internship.

I was also able to gain clinical experience at Chapel Allerton Hospital working with the Rheumatology Podiatry service. As a new graduate, I found this experience useful to brush up on my skills and knowledge prior to starting my first NHS post.

The internship has really kick-started my career. I went on to gain an NHS post in South London and have since started a funded Masters in Clinical Research (MRes) at the University of Southampton as part of the NIHR clinical academic scheme.

The internship has helped set my application apart and prepared me well for my masters.

It’s an ideal opportunity for final year nursing students looking to gain research experience in Rheumatology and MSK before starting their first clinical role. It will set you apart from other graduates, and provide opportunities to pursue a future clinical academic career. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work in a leading multidisciplinary research team and that I have since been able to develop my clinical and research skills.

Matthew Collison is a podiatrist at Department of Foot Health, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton.

About the internship

The internship provides new graduates of podiatry, nursing, occupational health and physiotherapy the opportunity to be a part of leading research into musculoskeletal health, underpinned by principles in health promotion and public health.

It includes an intensive four day research training programme, eight week research placement, a final dissemination day and post internship mentoring. Each year group is also encouraged to develop a peer network, which helps form collaborations for future careers. Although unpaid, interns will receive £1,000 towards costs.

Applications are now open and close on Friday 11th March 2016 (17:00).

For more information and how to apply, students must contact Mary Fry (MSc) Programme Co-ordinator or call 02380 594023.

Interview dates will commence on Thursday 21st April 2016 and if successful, the scheme will run from 4th July 2016- 26th August 2016.

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