Systematic Reviewer, Cochrane ENT
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE
I work with the Cochrane ENT group to develop systematic reviews on all aspects of ENT disorders. Within this, the role is quite varied, involving working alongside clinicians and patient representatives to ensure that the reviews we produce are appropriate, relevant and useful for patients and healthcare professionals alike. I work on most aspects of review production, including scoping the topics (to find out where reviews are most needed), developing review protocols, identifying relevant studies to be included, reading the studies and picking out the appropriate data for the review topic, conducting statistical analyses of the data and assessing the certainty of the evidence available.
I originally trained as a clinician, and worked predominantly in O&G as a junior doctor. After focusing on research during my DPhil I moved away from clinical medicine and worked at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for several years as a systematic reviewer, helping to develop NICE guidelines in the areas of women’s and children’s health. I moved to NDS in 2019, because I was keen to gain experience working with Cochrane, who are globally renowned for their systematic review methods.
I see my role as part of the jigsaw puzzle of Medical Sciences, fitting alongside clinicians and allied health professionals, alongside patients and their carers, and alongside researchers, all of whom are looking for the best information available to make decisions for healthcare. I hope that we provide a reliable, trusted source of information which is accessible to everyone and is valued by those who use it.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
I think that the reviews we produce always tell us something useful about the topic. Sometimes this is through identifying a body of evidence which, when taken together, tells us more than the individual trials – showing clear evidence that treatments are of benefit (or not of benefit) to patients. But sometimes this is also by shining a light on the lack of evidence which underpins some treatments that are already in common use today, and really demonstrating the need for high quality trials in these neglected areas.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU'VE DONE, CONTRIBUTED TO THAT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF?
Since starting in NDS, I’ve worked on a number of systematic reviews looking at aspects of COVID-19 which relate to ENT. We have a set of reviews looking at the use of mouthwashes and nasal sprays to reduce viral transmission, and new reviews upcoming which will look at management of anosmia related to COVID-19. These reviews will be constantly updated over the coming months and years, so that all new evidence in these areas will be incorporated as it is published. Although the evidence base was non-existent at the start of these projects, it is exciting to see relevant trials start all over the world, and be able to see the results as they emerge.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS?
Even more flexibility in working patterns, and better collaboration across the division. I’m lucky to work in a role where I’m able to work part time, and have flexibility in my hours. I think that flexible working arrangements are critical to having a happy, fulfilled workforce, and it would be great to see this being possible in all roles in the department in 100 years’ time. It would also be nice to see more collaboration across the different departments within Medical Sciences, to try and see where we can work together, learn from each other and be inspired by our colleagues.