I was a Medical Research Fellow at MRINZ from Sep 2015 to Aug 2016. I had such a great time working at MRINZ, I don’t really know where to start.
First, a little bit about my background. I completed medical school and foundation training in the UK, and my fiancé and I planned to take a year out before starting specialist training. We always wanted to visit New Zealand, and were keen to gain experience in clinical research, so applying for a job at MRINZ was the natural choice.
During my twelve months at MRINZ I contributed to a number of different research studies and gained a wide range of experiences. My main focus was on helping to set up a multi-national randomised controlled trial for treatment of mild asthma. This involved recruiting participants, conducting study visits, and helping to run site initiation visits for other participating centres in New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and the UK. I also contributed to research projects related to asthma epidemiology, intensive care medicine, oxygen therapy, and venous thrombo-embolism prophylaxis. I learned about many different aspects of clinical research, from writing a study protocol and applying for ethics approval, to collecting and analysing data, to preparing a manuscript for publication. Participating in these research studies has led to me being named as a co-author on several peer-reviewed publications.
In addition to the work I did at MRINZ, Prof Beasley encouraged me to pursue my interest in Paediatrics and put me in touch with Dr Max Berry in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Under the supervision of Dr Berry, I completed a research project, presented the findings at a national meeting, and won the ‘New Investigator Award’ for my presentation.
Finally, a few words about the people and the place. MRINZ is a friendly, fun, and supportive working environment. There is a great team spirit and everyone is happy to help. There is a daily quiz with morning coffee, a lunchtime run up the nearby Mount Victoria (not compulsory), and beers after work on a Friday. Living in Wellington is also amazing – there are beautiful beaches and green spaces, and the food and coffee are excellent!