Meegan Shepherd

Current position: Radiation Therapist

Years qualified as an RT: 9 years

Why did you decide to get involved in research?

I was interested in learning more and also assisting others in my department with their in-house research

Who encouraged you to get involved in research and who do you go to for advice when you need it?

The initial research team I was a part of were very collaborative and supportive, as well as the departmental educator at the time. My department is involved in a lot of clinical trials and research endeavours so there are a number of members of the MDT who are experienced and are generally happy to give advice, depending on their specialty.

What sort of activities/studies have you been involved in?

I was fortunate enough to be in a research and QI RT role and was involved in many clinical trials (such as RAVES, ANROTAT, ICARUS, BOLART, STARS) in which I had experiences of data collection, quality and submission. I have undertaken a few in-house studies on immobilisation, positioning and planning techniques that involved literature reviews, research planning, protocol writing, ethics submissions, study processes, statistical analysis report writing and change in practice

What do you enjoy most about being involved in these research activities?

I really enjoy the process of having an idea or question and following it through to the answer. Research in teams is more enjoyable than individually-based projects, although the satisfaction of changing practice that actually benefits patients is worth any headaches experienced throughout the research process

What has been your biggest challenge or barrier to being involved in research?

Finding quality time – this is an issue I know affects all researchers.

What is one piece of advice you would give other researchers who have never been involved in research before?

Completing a thorough literature review helps guide, strengthen and even sometimes answer research questions. Make sure you check the relevant databases and journals for similar research. This can help with the validity of your study and assist with methodology and statistical analysis.