Heidi's Research Blog - Part 1

Posted 21st April 2020

Last year the CMSUK research grant was partly used to fund a full-time Masters degree with the University of York, with the research question being focused on Case Management in the UK.  The funded place was advertised and the successful applicant was Heidi Stevens.  Her research supervisor at the University of York is Professor Trevor Sheldon.  Heidi started a blog so that CMSUK members could follow her progress. 

March 2020 Update

Last summer I was very excited to be invited for an interview for a position as a Healthy Lifestyle Advisor on a council-led weight-intervention programme for children and their families. I had been volunteering on the programme while I completed my BSc Food, Science and Nutrition as a mature student. But sometimes life takes you in a different direction when you least expect it and the advertised CMSUK studentship was brought to my attention. Rather ignorant of me, but I hadn’t heard of case management before, so I did some background reading including a report by the King’s Fund. I had been over the moon about my Healthy Lifestyle job, but conducting research that would be valued and have real-world meaning was a rare opportunity. And clearly, case management is a service that could address so many of the issues in healthcare at the moment, from cost-saving to helping those who may be vulnerable.

The interviews for the two positions just happened to fall on the same day, one in Northallerton and one in York. Living in Whitby this was going to be quite a day. I did some research for the case management interview over the weekend. I made notes outlining case management, its benefits, measurable outcomes and also of course a potential critique. Trevor was very welcoming when I arrived for the interview. The interview was fast paced, I couldn’t decide if I’d held my own or just sounded silly until Trevor said, ‘very good’. That was a boost even if I didn’t get the studentship.

To be honest when I was told I’d been accepted I was so shocked…and over the moon. I did get the Council job too, but know that a similar job could always come along again in the future.

August term was a whirlwind. I had expected it to be challenging but had underestimated. While I found my Health Statistics module to be very familiar territory, the Epidemiology module was a huge challenge. Luckily, I enjoy every aspect of research so am content to spend as many hours as it takes to understand new material. In addition, my BSc gave me a solid basis for research and my previous career as a head pastry chef imbued me with dogged determination.

I would be lying if I said autumn term wasn’t a challenge. I live 48 miles away from campus, I’m a single parent and have a part-time paid job at the STEM centre too. But my reward for hard work was completing the term with distinctions across all subjects. I felt very relieved and happy to pass this success on to the CMSUK Board and to Trevor.

I am now completing spring term which included my Systematic Reviews module. This module has been ideal to prepare and plan for the case management dissertation and took my existing systematic review knowledge to the next level. I am now itching to start the dissertation.

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