Louise Crathorne read English at Swansea University, graduating in 1996. She is currently a Research Fellow (Health Technology Assessment) at the University of Exeter Medical School.
Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?
Swansea was actually my second choice – blushes! But, after careful deliberation between my first choice polytechnic (Birmingham Polytechnic as it was then), and second choice University (Swansea) I decided to pursue getting in to Swansea. The course structure was what I was looking for, and the fact that Swansea was a city by the sea with easy access to beautiful coastline also swung it.
What did you enjoy most about your course at Swansea?
The course was well structured with a good choice of seminars. Dialectology – the scientific study of linguistic dialect - in particular was interesting.
What are you doing now career-wise?
Research Fellow (Health Technology Assessment), University of Exeter Medical School. I am a project manager and systematic reviewer with Peninsula Technology Assessment Group. I work on a range of projects related to the assessment of health technologies. In our work supporting NICE we either produce systematic reviews of existing effectiveness and cost-effectiveness evidence together with a new economic analysis of the decision problem ('Multiple Technology Assessment' process) or, for very new technologies, we review the evidence supplied to NICE by the manufacturers of new drugs or medical devices.
How has Swansea University and your course helped you with your chosen career path?
Prior to my current role, I was working in medical communications working on a variety of global, pan-European, and UK healthcare campaigns (medical education, public relations, and public affairs). Despite constantly coming up against the hurdle that I didn’t have a life sciences degree or PHD I made good progress in that field. I’d frequently bemoan the fact that I’d chosen to do English but on reflection it’s a good degree to have working in communications. Inevitably there are topic-specific queries but these usually get referred to clinicians/medics anyway; neither a life sciences nor an English degree really make you an expert in oncology, or rheumatology. In terms of communication I think English is a good degree to have enhancing verbal and written communication skills and facilitating the interpretation of data to convey complex information to a variety of different audiences. Four years ago, I moved into academia (University of Exeter Medical School) and was deemed a ‘wild card’ hire; thankfully I’m still here and am pleased that I did an English undergraduate degree.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Definitely the statistics! And, thinking you have got something sussed only to discover that, as you delve deeper, you’ve not quite hit the nail on the head.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
Sometimes just getting it is enough! Finalising and submitting the HTA reports and subsequent publications.
What advice do you have for current students and new graduates?
Top tips I’ve picked up along the way though include:
(a) there are things in life that you can’t control. . .so don’t waste your time, energy or sanity on them. You can only control your reaction to them;
(b) you have to work with your co-workers but you do not have to be best friends;
(c) take chances, make mistakes;
(d) get through the transition period when starting something new
What are your favourite memories of your university years at Swansea?
They are many and varied… the highlights though include moving into Hendrefoelan Student Village; roaming around the student village in the early hours trying to find a saucepan; playing Danni Minogue’s ‘This Is It’ at top volume to introduce ourselves to our new housemate; late night trips to the petrol station at Killay for chocolate; taking a Hoover to Mumbles on a Saturday night and hiding it in a bush; the summer balls; Central Park on a Friday night; JCs, Divas, and the Hendre Bar; the Mumbles Mile; the Gower; the Geog Soc summer beach party at Llangenith; and my fab housemates Sophie, Nicola, Kate Mif, Becky
And finally, describe yourself in 3 words…
Organised; determined; fun