My Research Experience
University of Glasgow
Presenter at RCPCH conference Glasgow 2023
Hello, my name is Caoimhe McCaffrey and I’m a fourth-year medical student at the University of Glasgow.
I got involved in research through studying a Clinical Medicine intercalated BSc degree at the University of Glasgow, specialising in psychological medicine. This was an optional one-year degree course which I studied after my third year of university. This degree focused on developing critical thinking and research skills, with a key element being a research project.
I feel that an intercalated degree is incredibly worthwhile for those wishing to pursue an academic career. I have gained a better understanding of how medical research is carried out, as well as the legal and ethical frameworks surrounding research in the UK. I also learned how to critically appraise studies, allowing me to determine the quality of evidence provided, which is an important skill in providing evidence-based care for patients.
Additionally, our projects were supervised by clinicians and researchers in the relevant scientific field, and this guidance proved invaluable in developing my confidence and research skills. With this support, I submitted an abstract for my project, exploring the relationship between sleep and aggression in adolescents, to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath 2023 conference in Glasgow.
I was delighted to have my abstract selected for presentation at a plenary session during this conference. To be selected from hundreds of abstracts and present my work alongside esteemed researchers and physicians was a huge honour, and experiencing a conference of this size and importance as a student was very special. The opportunity allowed me to meet professionals from around the world and have interesting discussions about challenges within child healthcare, including mental health and health inequalities. The experience has opened my eyes to an academic career, and this is a path I plan to explore further as I approach the end of my university degree.
I must admit, as a student I was surprised to have my work accepted, and the thought of speaking in front of so many healthcare professionals was daunting, but I am so glad I did. I would encourage any students interested in research to attend conferences – whether they are local, national, or international. Even better, submit an abstract for a poster or presentation, don’t let the fact that you are still a student hold you back.