Recite Me

Our Nurses. Our Future: Alison Davie, Research Nurse Primary Care

Alison Davie (Ali) qualified as a Registered General Nurse over 35 years ago, but recently has changed career paths and is now a Research Nurse in Primary Care.

Alison Davie

I qualified as an RGN over 35 years ago, and in some ways, nothing has changed, but of course, in many ways, so much has. I have been working as a research nurse for 6 months in Primary Care Delivery and am completely new to this branch of nursing.

Research is fundamental to everything we do for our patients and is key in order to innovate and improve medicines, patient care pathways, and staff well-being. When I started out, there were practices that were unproven, and we just did them with no questions asked. As a student nurse back then, no one dared. Many of us are aware of the practice of rubbing heels of bedbound patients with liquid paraffin and oil. I did that because I was told to, but what was the rationale? We were told for pressure area care and to prevent cracked heels, but was this evidenced?

Primary Care is the main entrance to the NHS, a core component of local communities, at every stage of life from pre-conception to caring for those grieving after the death of a loved one. Primary Care provides the majority of appointments in the NHS, patient contacts, and cares for the whole demographic of society. Therefore, any researcher or team would struggle not to find the patient to address their research questions. Much research is undertaken in the hospital setting but this is restricted to a pool of patients with specific conditions who have been initially signposted by members of the Primary Care Team.

My nursing qualification has enabled me to enjoy a varied career in the commercial sector in pharmaceutical sales, clinical support for surgeons and specialist nurses in medical devices, general patient services at a GP practice, hospital at home, education and as a care manager for a live-in care company, and prior to my current role – specialist nurse practitioner in pain management. When I needed a career break, I was fortunate to be able to travel the world and when my itchy feet settled, I completed the Return to Practice as a nurse and knew that this was the right thing to do.

If you’re just starting out as a nurse, it’s definitely tough. When you reflect on your day, remember that you did your best, learn from it, keep going, keep asking questions and with so many options and career choices, your career will always be varied, rewarding and overall, a huge privilege to touch the lives of our patients and their loved ones.