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Evidencing the long-term impact of a musculoskeletal allied health professionals and nurse research internship programme

Fry, Mary; Gavin, James; Finney, Andrew; Ndosi, Mwidimi; Cramp, Fiona; Lewis, Jennifer; Barn, Ruth; Price, Carina; Siddle, Heidi; Lang, Gail; Leach, Emily; Bowen, Catherine


Mary Fry

James Gavin

Andrew Finney

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Dr Mwidimi Ndosi
Associate Professor in Nursing Rheumatology

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions

Jennifer Lewis

Ruth Barn

Carina Price

Heidi Siddle

Gail Lang

Emily Leach

Catherine Bowen


Background/Aims The UK-wide AHP and Nurse Research Internship Programme (2015-2022) is an effective, well-recognised model for building musculoskeletal (MSK) research capacity. The programme aim was to encourage and accelerate early clinical academic careers, build confidence and improve research engagement/activity in clinical practice to benefit patients with MSK conditions. We present further evidence of impact of the programme on intern alumni and the higher education institutions (HEIs) since the last evaluation in 2019. Methods Evidence of impact was collated from annual metric surveillance for reporting purposes and an online survey was sent to intern alumni. Seven survey questions were developed to ascertain achievements and career progression since participating in the programme. A purposive sample from the intern alumni were asked to provide additional written reflection. The seven host HEI leads also provided written feedback on their experiences of supervising and/or mentoring interns. Results Since 2015, thirty-nine interns (n = 39) have completed the programme across multiple disciplines - Physiotherapy (n = 13), Podiatry (n = 14), Nursing (n = 4), Radiography (n = 2), Prosthetics & Orthotics (n = 3), Occupational Therapy (n = 3). Metric collation included publications (n = 62), conference attendance/presentations (n = 46), widespread Patient and Public Involvement initiatives and esteem indicators: national awards (n = 4), conference awards (n = 2), PhD fellowships (n = 8). Survey respondents (n = 13) reported faster career progression than their peers, awareness of clinical academic opportunities and involvement in wider collaborative networks with MSK UK researchers. All respondents commented on the positive impact that the programme had on their careers with all having secured, or planning, future clinical academic work. From the intern alumni written reflections (n = 4), a common theme was that the internship provided them with the foundation and networks to progress a clinical academic career in MSK health. The HEI supervisors and/or mentors reported that they had a positive experience in benefitting from working with their interns and each other. For example: “Immensely rewarding, providing a practical foundation for budding clinical academics … also developed my own professional development as an early career researcher progressing to researcher manager”. “It facilitated collaboration between the participating HEIs and directly contributed to ongoing research and outputs in our research centre”. “As an early career researcher, this offered me interviewing, supervision and project management experience alongside publication and collaboration opportunities” Conclusion This evaluation provides further evidence of long-term success of the internship programme as an effective model of research capacity building, specifically in introducing newly qualified AHPs and nurses to MSK research. Tangible benefits have been made for both interns and HEI supervisors and/or mentors through research outputs, clinical academic careers and influencing clinical practice. We have provided a model for research capacity building in other health professions nationally and internationally. Disclosure M. Fry: None. J. Gavin: None. A. Finney: None. M. Ndosi: None. F. Cramp: None. J. Lewis: None. R. Barn: None. C. Price: None. H. Siddle: None. G. Lang: None. E. Leach: None. C. Bowen: None.


Fry, M., Gavin, J., Finney, A., Ndosi, M., Cramp, F., Lewis, J., …Bowen, C. (2023). Evidencing the long-term impact of a musculoskeletal allied health professionals and nurse research internship programme. Rheumatology, 62(Supplement_2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 24, 2023
Publication Date Apr 24, 2023
Deposit Date Jun 1, 2023
Journal Rheumatology
Print ISSN 1462-0324
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue Supplement_2
Keywords Pharmacology (medical), Rheumatology
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