A radiographer and a community midwife have become the first Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust staff to be awarded the new 70@70 Research Associateships.

Community midwife Abi McWhinneyCommunity midwife Abi McWhinney

This award is a unique opportunity for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from the Trust to take the first steps to becoming a clinical academic.

Radiographer Becky Stride and community midwife Abi McWhinney will learn about clinical research trials and supporting the trust’s urgent public health studies into Covid-19.

They will work on a chosen project in their roles and plan their clinical academic career with the support of the R&D Team and Torbay Clinical School.

They join a growing number of TSDFT staff driving excellence in healthcare by blending their clinical expertise with academic training.

Torbay HospitalTorbay Hospital

Becky, appointed for 12 months, said: “I will gain a solid foundation in research methods and learn how these affect our work in radiology from the research and development team at Torbay Hospital.

“Through the mentorship provided by the 70@70 Research Associateship, I will make contacts with experts undertaking their own research and involved in research within radiology and the Trust who can guide my progression.”

She plans to start a master’s degree in computed tomography to learn more about her work in radiography, before beginning a doctorate.

Becky added: “I will use the 70@70 Research Associateship to take the first steps to becoming a clinical academic which will help improve everyone with service delivery and patient care.

“I would like to become more of expert in my field, constantly looking for innovative ways to improve patient pathways, while nurturing an environment of personal and professional development for myself and colleagues.”

Abi, appointed for six months, said: “The 70@70 Research Associateship has come at an ideal time in my career. The clinical experience I have gained in a community and acute setting will be invaluable in informing any research I undertake.

She plans to apply for a pre-doctoral pathway funding with a research project in midwifery.