Jenny Philbin

Jenny’s story – starting a career in research

Research Assistant Jenny Philbin combines her role at the Royal Oldham Hospital with study for her PhD and preparing for her own research project.

Jenny, who has a degree in psychology and a Masters in health psychology, is especially interested in how people cope with long-term conditions and her PhD project aims to help children with Type 1 diabetes manage their condition themselves.

She started work at the Royal Oldham in October 2017 and says the practical experience she’s gaining is really helpful to her academic work – as well as interesting and rewarding in itself.

Jenny said: “I love getting up in the morning and coming to work. I’m finding that research is very patient-centred – when I talk to patients about getting involved, most say that if it will help other people or help the NHS makes progress, then they will take part, even if there isn’t a direct benefit to them.

“Patients want to help others and research allows them to do that.”

Since joining the Royal Oldham research team, Jenny has also worked on studies aiming to help pregnant women quit smoking by using either nicotine patches or e-cigarettes; looking at handwashing practices in neonatal wards; and testing continuous glucose monitors for children with diabetes.

It can be tough combining a busy workload with the academic demands of her doctorate but she says she has great support from colleagues and the skills she’s gained, such as communicating with young children, are really helpful to both her work and studies.

Looking to the future, Jenny would love to continue working in the NHS – health psychologists offer care and support to people with many conditions, covering areas such as difficulties coming to terms with illness or diagnosis, anxiety and stress, coping with medication and making decisions about treatment, and managing pain and other symptoms.