Alex Mitchell is a Transition Fellow with the NIHR Bristol BRC’s Nutrition theme. Her fascinating career trajectory is documented here as part of Your Path in Research, the NIHR’s annual campaign to encourage clinical staff to think about a career in research.

Alex says:

“My ambition is to be a leader of clinical research in dietetic management for gastrointestinal disorders and surgery. I am passionate about conducting high quality, inter-disciplinary, applied research that will advance dietetic practice and nutritional care.”

Before training as a dietitian, Alex completed a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at Loughborough University followed by an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health from the University of Bristol.

In 2011, she completed her postgraduate diploma in dietetics at UWIC (now Cardiff Metropolitan University) and started her career as a registered dietitian at Weston General Hospital where she gained a wide range of clinical experience including nutrition support, gastrointestinal disorders, and surgery.

In 2014, she moved to Southmead Hospital within North Bristol NHS Trust as a specialist dietitian in critical care and neurosurgery. While in this post, she successfully gained an NIHR trainee place for allied health professionals to study for a master’s in clinical research at Plymouth University. Over 12 months, she completed training in research methods and conducted a study investigating protein provision in critically ill adults requiring tube feeding.

She joined the Bristol NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in October 2017 to carry out research for a PhD on the topic of dietary advice and management for people with an ileostomy (a type of output stoma formed from the small intestine).

Most recently Alex has taken up a 12-month Transition Fellowship with the BRC, advancing the exploratory work completed for her PhD to develop a proposal to design and evaluate a new model for dietary intervention for patients undergoing ileostomy formation.

And finally, she adds:

“I aim to conduct research that will benefit patients undergoing bowel surgery and will help dietitians and other healthcare professionals working with these patients provide high quality dietary advice and nutritional care. Another important part of my role in clinical research is to encourage and mentor other allied health professionals, in particular dietitians, to participate in and apply research as part of their practice.”