As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, we asked women who worked across the Trust to share their stories.

Posted on March 5, 2020 by AireAdmin

Dr Carole Paley

My role in the NHS is Head of Research and Innovation.

I did not set out with a clear plan of where I wanted to be. I started out with a degree in Leisure Studies and then moved into sports science and sports medicine. I worked for a few years at Leeds Polytechnic Carnegie School of Physical Education and Human Movement Studies, doing some part-time lecturing and research before taking a Master of Medical Science Degree in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the University of Sheffield. I then went to be a senior lecturer in biomechanics and sports science at Salford University and it was whilst I was there that I decided I wanted to be a physiotherapist. Three years later I was employed as a junior Physiotherapist, firstly at Burnley and shortly afterwards, in 1996, I got a post at Airedale; gradually rising through the ranks until I was a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist.

Throughout my career I was always interested in research and was very keen to become involved in some aspect of health research. In 2007 I applied for the post of Research Manager at Airedale, not expecting to be successful, and was absolutely amazed and delighted when I was offered the job! In 2008 I also started my part-time PhD studies at Leeds Beckett University and in 2013 I passed my viva and officially became ‘Dr Paley’ – a lifelong dream! About the same time my post at Airedale evolved into being Head of Research and my team, which had started off with 6 members of staff in 2007, has now grown to 17 in 2020. I still do some collaborative research work with Leeds Beckett University and we have published quite a few joint papers over the past few years.

Working at Airedale was my ambition ever since I qualified as a Physiotherapist. The hospital is local to me and I enjoy the friendliness of the staff and patients, and the rural location. I am still just as passionate about health research as I was when I started working in the NHS and I want to improve healthcare outcomes for patients and their families. Having been in this role for almost 13 years now I have many friends amongst my colleagues both at Airedale and around the Yorkshire region.

Outside of work I am a very keen runner and have in the past completed quite a lot of events ranging from ultra-distance mountain navigation races to marathons, half-marathons and shorter distances. I’m a member of the hospital-based Airedale Dodgers running club. I am also a musician and play my euphonium in Skipton Brass Band. I have 3 grown up girls, whom I am extremely proud of, and 3 dogs, including two who were rescued.

My message to women considering working in the NHS is that it is a fantastic organisation to work for. It is hard work and not glamorous but there is a tremendous amount of job satisfaction and you will work with some amazing patients and staff. It’s great to be feeling that you are making a positive difference to people’s lives.