Welcome to the group: Sarah Harrison

Sarah joins the group from Bath Spa and will be studying the effect of disclosure of rheumatoid arthritis in the workplace as part of the DRAW study.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I originally worked as a workplace interior designer and teacher until I moved back to Sussex to bring up my young family and diversified to a nursing career. I completed my MSC in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (Occupational Health) at Brunel University where I used the anthropometric and ergonomic design knowledge I had gained from my earlier experience.

I have worked in the field of work and health since 2004 across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent and am currently the clinical manager for the 'workforce health and wellbeing services' at Sussex Community NHS Trust. I welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Professor Ira Madan and Dr Vaughan Parsons at Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital exploring the use of e-fit notes in secondary care as a quality improvement project. It was this experience and my first, first author journal publication (see Harrison et al, The quality of e-fit notes issued in secondary care) that led me to start my PhD and meet Dr Elaine Wainwright. Her patient-centred pain and work research aligned perfectly with my research interests of promoting 'healthy work' and challenging health inequalities.

What will you be working on with the Epi Group?

My NHS work and part time PhD research study provide a symbiotic relationship from which I plan to explore the impact of disclosure of health condition decisions at work in the DRAW study: (Disclosure of Rheumatoid Arthritis at Work). Rheumatoid arthritis is of specific interest because its effect on work may be 'hidden' from the employer, until a relapse occurs. Relapses can be sudden and progressively debilitating.

Why did you choose Aberdeen?

I transferred from Bath Spa University to the University of Aberdeen to benefit from the University’s commitment to research and excellence and to learn from and contribute to the Epidemiology group’s pioneering pain and work research;  including the continued supervision from Dr Elaine Wainwright and the collaboration with the Centre for Musculoskeletal Health and Work. I am also delighted to be co-supervised by Dr Rosemary Hollick, Professor Ira Madan and Dr Vaughan Parsons.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy all things creative, cultural and design related so although I love cycling with my husband Garry exploring the South Downs national park or the south coastal paths, I equally enjoy the built industrial environment and different genres of architecture.

I have recently joined the current paddle boarding trend but my commitment to and pleasure in this sport is entirely dependent on our unpredictable UK weather and the effect it has on the tide and quality of the muddy river water! Living near Brighton and London does however provide the comforting benefit of vibrant cafes and bars to socialise in with friends when the tide dictates.

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