Andrew Bates is a Critical Care Research Manager at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).
He is a trained intensive care nurse. Always keen to provide evidence-based care, he became increasingly interested in conducting his own research, while working as a Senior Charge Nurse and clinical educator at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. This led him to apply for a research nurse position there managing the critical care and anaesthetics research portfolio.
“From my clinical work, teaching and looking at other people’s research, I became more interested in the research process itself”, he explains. “I could see lots of unanswered questions in intensive care, and so I thought – perhaps rather naively - that I’d give it a go.”
Moving to Southampton
Andrew met several researchers while conducting their studies as a research nurse. Among these were Professors Sandy Jack and Mike Grocott from Southampton. He secured an NIHR Internship and was invited to join the UHS Fit4Surgery board. This led to a year-long research secondment, but he liked it so much that he decided to stay.
Kay Mitchell, from SoAR, is his line manager, so his interactions with SoAR have primarily been through her. He found SoAR particularly useful for helping to explain the infrastructure in Southampton and to direct him to the best opportunities and people to speak to and collaborate with.
“It became very clear that there was such an infrastructure over here, and the model was so well established, that to me it was a bit of a no-brainer to move.”
Combining research with trial management
During his time in Southampton, Andrew has progressed from an NIHR Internship to an NIHR Predoctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF), and currently splits his time evenly between research and trial management.
He recently submitted his application for and NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (CDRF) which, if successful, would give him three years to focus entirely on his own research project.
He has no regrets about moving into research. His advice for anyone else considering it is to go for it, and start by talking to colleagues in your speciality. Many will have research projects on the go and will be delighted for some help! In the meantime, contact SoAR. He says Kay and Kristin have got ‘their finger on the pulse’ in terms of the opportunities available and the teams here.
“I could have just carried on my career in ICU and done that for another ten years,” he says. “There’s a lot more risk attached to this and a lot more uncertainty, but it’s exciting and there’s a creativity to it that I find really appealing.”