Miss Maria Paton

What is your job title?

Lead Cardiac Scientist for Heart Failure/NIHR Clinical Academic Fellow

Where do you work?

Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust/University of Leeds

What is your specialism?

Heart failure in both CRM and Imaging

Twitter Handle?


How did you become a Clinical Scientist?

Equivalence Route

What does your role involve?

I’m incredibly fortunate to have two aligning careers as a clinician and a researcher. I’m an NIHR clinical academic fellowship at the University of Leeds, predominantly investigating the optimal management of patients with heart failure and cardiac devices through tailored therapy and advanced imaging techniques. I am also lead cardiac scientist for heart failure and cardiac device services at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
Recently I was appointed to co-chair of the research sub-committee of the British Society of Echocardiography, which is a really exciting new role, and act as deputy lead for the postgraduate certificate in cardiac rhythm management at the University of Leeds.
Physically I split my time evenly, but for me the roles intertwine. My research stems from questions raised in clinical practice, and I put what I learn in research straight into my clinic and my teaching.

What does a typical day look like in your role?

My day-to-day practice is incredibly diverse, revolving around diagnosing and managing patients in our specialised service for patients with heart failure and a cardiac device, recruiting patients to my teams research programmes, collecting and analysing data, presenting findings, supervising students, and delivering lectures.

What is the best bit of your role?

Easy – seeing patients! I get the most enjoyment from running a clinic, performing tests to diagnose patients, using the findings to discuss and help patients develop a management plan, and then following-up with them. As cardiac scientists, we are really fortunate to be able to have a part in the whole patient pathway.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of moving from a practitioner to a scientist role?

At first I think it seems really daunting to undertake a new process and I was certainly unsure of whether I would personally benefit from doing so. Having said that, I have received a number of opportunities since becoming a scientist which I wouldn’t be eligible for if I wasn’t, and I also appreciate the sense of community that being a healthcare scientist brings.
The process itself is manageable when you break it down, and there is lots of support to make sure you don’t feel like you’re doing it alone and that you have someone to ask any questions to. I have helped people locally, and am really looking forward to offering support to anyone else that would like it on a wider scale. You can do this!