This is the first of my blogs which I have written away from my desk, I am currently writing it whilst working as a nanny (it is afternoon nap time of course!), which is much harder than I originally thought and will keep me busy this summer. I miss Manchester already, I had such a lovely send off last week, it feels strange not to be there anymore!
I thought in my last blog I would reflect on some of the skills I have developed, including technical skills relevant to my placement alongside some transferable skills which will be very beneficial in my final year of study, as well as in my future career.
I thought I would also highlight a few of the other things I have learnt; firstly preparation is key... how does the saying go? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail! Everything is more likely to run smoothly if there is some planning put into it, some things are still likely to go wrong but not as many things that would go wrong without preparation. Leading onto my overused saying throughout my blogs of not everything in research goes to plan straight away, it doesn’t always go wrong but there can always be setbacks. From this I have learnt to keep calm before getting stressed out, take time to think about the options available. In research there are always tasks that need to be completed, which will save time in the long run when everything is back on track, so I have learnt that when these setbacks do occur it is worth thinking ahead and working on other tasks which need to be completed. Finally I think that if you are looking to do a work placement working in research it is also important to note that you get out what you put in! I had some amazing opportunities whilst working at Salford and the experience has been invaluable, I have learnt so much! I wouldn’t of chosen a different placement at all and believe that this one was the one for me.
Thank you for reading my blog.
Have a fantastic summer, I can’t wait to get back to Bath!
It is nearly over and I can’t believe it, where on earth have the last 10 months gone?! I have had a great time in Manchester and will be really sad to leave work next Thursday, although I do plan to come back for a few days here and there over the summer.
In terms of my project I am now further with my data analysis (Matlab still confuses me) but I have managed to analyse the data for 18 subjects.. with over 200 peak values per subject this took longer to organise than I originally thought! My personal aim was to collect and analyse a set of data for 20 subjects before I finished my placement. After next week I should hopefully have done this, I had a meeting with my supervisor earlier this week and he said that over the summer there may be an opportunity to publish some of my work, which is really exciting!
I am still waiting for two pairs of orthotics to arrive from Spain, they arrived last week but both of them had been manufactured wrong so had to be sent back. This setback has delayed testing the final subjects, alongside this the equipment I need has been fully booked as one of the gait labs is been refurbished from next week and won’t be back up and running until later in the year. They hopefully will arrive by the end of today and I will be able to slot the subjects in around everyone else before I leave next Thursday, I know I am going to be cutting it fine.
I have learnt so much from my placement but one thing that I think I learnt on day one (I guess I may have mentioned this before) is that research does not always go to plan straight away. This can be very stressful especially as unlike a regular 9-5 job in this environment you work to deadlines, so when one thing sets you back it has a knock on effect to many other factors. During my placement there has been such a strong emphasis on that ‘you get out what you put in’, I am now much more able to take responsibility for my own learning. I think this is going to be very beneficial in my final year of study and in my future career, especially if I stay on into post graduate education.
Alongside leaving my placement I will be sad to leave Manchester in general, I have made some friends for life here and as a city it is fantastic. I never thought as a country girl I would have so much fun in what I think is a massive place (my friends in London don’t really agree), I just love the fact that the city never stops and that there are always people around in the centre whatever time day or night.
In other news Manchester United won the premiership, that is also really exciting and I am thankful for the opportunities working at Old Trafford this year has given me! I mean Fergie knows who I am, how cool is that…
I will write my final blog the week after I finish, I will reflect on the most important things I have learnt and how this placement has affected my personal development.
Thanks for reading!
I know I start my blog like this every time but I wish time would slow down, I kind of wish I had a stop watch (one like Bernard had when I was younger) as it doesn’t seem two minutes since the last time I wrote and that was over a month ago. I am now officially an adult... It was lovely to meet up with some fellow Bath students for my 21st birthday and party in true Bath style! It did make me realise how much I miss uni and how long we have all been away. I never thought I would say this but I actually can’t wait to go to back to lectures & more importantly back to SCORE... (minus that Thursday feeling)!
Although I am really excited to get back to Bath & for the summer that does mean that my placement is coming to an end, with only 36 days left the saying 'so much to do and so little time' keeps playing on my mind. The past 10 months have been some of the best, I feel I have learnt so much and developed both academically and grown up as a person. Anyway enough of this it is making me sad about leaving as I am going to miss placement life so much!
I thought in this blog I would reflect on my career aspirations and how they have changed since I started my placement, the main reason why I came to Salford was to get a bigger insight into Podiatry. My career aspirations prior to placement was to go on to study this field on a second degree. I am really glad I choose to come and do this placement and I think that it has given me the insight I need whilst also allowing me to learn and develop many skills which are relevant and will be beneficially for the remainder of my degree.
I have come to the conclusion that I don’t think that going on to study podiatry is the career path which I want to take. I do have an interest in most of the areas, however, personally I am not as interested in the clinical side of the job (corns, fungal infections & callus's are not what I want to be working with). The areas I am interested in can be approached from another direction - through research such as biomechanics. I do see myself staying in postgraduate education with my new plan to hopefully study a Masters and then my dream to go on to study a PhD.
This year has certainly done its job allowing me to work out if podiatry is for me and even though I have decided against it, my placement has been invaluable and I still have a keen interest in foot and ankle biomechanics and more so in gait analysis. I feel like I have got an insight into the life as a research student, I have fit-in perfectly and could imagine myself progressing further in this lifestyle. I am planning to have a discussion with my supervisor at Salford to see how to go about applying to Masters and PhD programs and to get more information about funding and in general the opportunities available. I need to see what different universities offer, for example, if I need to do a masters which I can’t get funding for will I need to work for a year to save up (although I know this answer already).
Back to the present… In terms of my project the start of my data collection went really smoothly and I've really enjoyed it, even though I have collected all of the data independently, It made me realise how much I love being in the lab and working with the subjects. On placement I have been able to meet so many individuals, from all different backgrounds who approach things in different ways which is personally why I think I have learnt so much.
'An example of designing the custom orthotic to fit the mesh which I made from the plaster casts of the feet'
Before I could start testing I had to design all of the custom orthotics to get them manufactured and I had to design a protocol. I sent off all of the designs for the custom orthotics in batches and with a delay due to the bank holiday I am now waiting for the last batch of 6 orthotics to arrive so I can test the final subjects. I am hoping these will arrive by the end of the week so I can fit the testing in asap, I have started slowly analysing the data using Matlab and have set myself a deadline of next Friday to get all of the pressure data analysed and hopefully to get some stats done. Then I will be on track, however, I can feel that next week is going to be a hard week especially with the Manchester derby on Monday (so once again wish me luck).
Life up north is still very enjoyable, although with the Easter holidays at the moment for the Manchester unis the student area where I live is like a ghost town, luckily the two girls I live with are dedicated to the cause and with 'dissertation-handings' looming, they have come back to Manchester and are working in the library so I am not on my own. Anyway I better get back to work, like I said 'so much to do - so little time!'
Welcome to my blog, I have never done anything like this before so let’s see how this goes! My name is Emily Gregg and I am currently on placement in the Foot and Ankle Biomechanics Department at the University of Salford in Manchester. I have been here since the start of July and so far I am really enjoying it! A lot of my friends are in London with a few in Australia but as a northerner by heart I knew Manchester would serve well as a placement destination, although I am not going to lie I think I will have grown by the end of my placement with all of this rain! I was a little nervous and did feel like a fresher again when I first arrived as I didn’t know many people at all, but after lunch on my first day I knew I was going to be absolutely fine. I have met so many people already from all different backgrounds both at placement and outside, a few I know will be friends for life.
I had a bit of a rocky start to my time here as I snapped and dislocated one off my fingers which meant that I needed surgery twice to have it pinned with a couple of wires, so had to be back and forth from York fairly often for the first couple of weeks. This never really affected my placement which was a relief and within my first week I was thrown in at the deep end and straight in the lab.
Snapping your finger is not a clever idea (especially not your wedding ring finger)!
I applied to the department as I am really interested in feet (yeah I know this slightly weird). My placement is slightly different to most of those on my course and is much more podiatry and health related. It does mean that I get to use and better my sport science knowledge already learnt already at Bath but I also have started to get an insight into podiatry with my main aim of the year to know which path I would like to take after I graduate.
I am working as a research fellow and since I arrived I have been really busy helping with a wide variety of projects ranging from a study focussing on Achilles tendon strain to the effect of high heeled shoes on foot function. I have also helped with testing for a shoe company which has given me an insight into footwear research and shoe design. Randomly I pretended to be a fresher again and joined in with labs learning how to plaster cast alongside the prosthetic and orthotic undergrads and got asked to carry out some ultrasound testing for a study looking at the effects of obesity.
All markered up ready for testing
One main study that I helped on, when I first arrived, focussed on the effects of muscle fatigue on rear foot pronation during running. I collected data using motion analysis and EMG. This allowed me to not only get to grips with collecting data in the lab but also gave me a chance to use various programs for data analysis. Over the last two months I have been working alongside a researcher from Ireland who is focussing on why people respond differently to foot orthotics, as the protocol for this project is very complex with various parts I helped organise and collect all of the kinematic and in-shoe pressure data for him alongside taking 3D scans of each subjects feet. I have really enjoyed this responsibility although I did feel like I was living in the lab for a couple of weeks, however all that hard work paid off and we are just about finished the first batch of subjects.
I had a meeting with my supervisor yesterday and we started to plan my own project which is really exciting, so that should be up and running in the New Year! I will tell more about that in my next blog.
I haven’t had the chance to meet any athletes on placement like some people on my course, but outside of placement I am also working as a VIP waitress at Manchester United - working in a private box on match days and meeting some players and Sir Alex is not all that bad!
Not a bad view of the pitch!
Thanks for reading!
My first week started off with introductions; members of the team, safety procedures, dos and don’ts. We did a lot of reading those first few days, getting our heads around the main ideas in the project. But it was good as it started to give us a better understanding of the project and the tests we were about to learn. By the end of the first week, we were familiarising ourselves with the protocol manuals for the assessment tasks, and the related coding manuals, before diving in and learning the first part of the assessment process…
Assessments are conducted on all children that take part in the study, either clinical participants (those with children showing behaviour problems) or controls (‘healthy and normal’ participants we need to use as a comparison). Clinical participants will come for three sessions: pre-treatment, post treatment and a follow up three months later. Controls only come for the equivalent of the pre treatment session. As an intern it’s my job to conduct assessments, prepare the data that we collect from them, and then begin analysing it. (more…)
It’s difficult to dive straight into my experiences on placement; I started in July, and by now I really am in full swing of my duties! So I thought for my first post it would be best to introduce the placement project I'm working on, to give some context for the posts to come. I've got quite a lot of ground to cover, because in some respects I feel like I have progressed much further in the past four months or so than I have in any one year as an undergraduate. Perhaps it’s simply the intensity of the work here on placement, as well as my immersion in a field of psychology that is both challenging and inspiring...
I work, along with two other Bath interns, at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. Our team is part of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and specialises in the understanding of conduct problems in young children. Known as the Personalisation Team, they are working to develop a new intervention for antisocial children between the ages of three and eight. What makes this project special is that they are personalising the treatment to take into account the individual aspects of a child that may lead to conduct disruption. Known as the TLC project, (which stands for Talking and Listening with your Child), the focus is on developing an intervention for those children who may not have responded well to treatment in the past, or are experiencing particularly problematic behaviour. As an intern, my role primarily involves the assessment of children, and the coding of observational data. (more…)