What is a Clinical Academic Career?

“Clinical academics are clinically active health researchers. They work in health and social care as clinicians to improve, maintain, or recover health while in parallel researching new ways of delivering better outcomes for the patients they treat and care for. Clinical academics also work in higher education institutions (HEIs) while providing clinical expertise to health and social care. Because they remain clinically active, their research is grounded in the day-to-day issues of their patients and service. This dual role also allows the clinical academic to combine their clinical and research career rather than having to choose between the two.” P11. National Institute for Health (NIHR) 2016).

In practise, a clinical academic is a researcher who is immersed in a clinical role.  A successful clinical academic will be able to demonstrate not only they are excellent researchers but also, they can lead, inspire, and innovate in their clinical field.  Joint contracts between clinical (NHS) and the University are in place although one organisation usually takes the lead in the substantive contract.  Many clinical academics hold an honorary contract rather than a substantive post in a university.  This role is different to a clinical research nurse.  These nurses primarily deliver research.  However, any nurse or midwife, in any role can transition to become a clinical academic.

“There is no one road to a clinical academic career: not all staff will or should progress from the same starting point to a designated end point, on the same timescale. P.12