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Helen Talbot: COVID-19 research update

Helen Talbot is a Senior Research Nurse in the West of England CRN. This is her experience of working on COVID-19 research.

Prior to COVID-19 the research nurses in the team were mainly working in primary care and community care settings. We were out and about on a daily basis, seeing participants and working with community teams.

When COVID-19 hit all of those routine studies were paused and we were then working from home. A lot of the time we were making sure our mandatory training was up to date and upskilling ready for the COVID-19 studies that were coming online. We all had to develop ways of keeping in contact through online methods, to make sure everybody knew what was going on and what training courses were available that would help us with the future. 

When the COV001 vaccine study opened in Bristol, we assisted our clinical research practitioners with the pre-screening calls. There were lots of people who volunteered to take part in this pivotal study and we’re so grateful to them. We had to phone the volunteers who had registered an interest, to check if they were eligible and then book them in for their screening appointment.

Following this, I spent a week working on the randomisation visits with my colleagues from the CRN, the women and children’s team and the medical research unit nurses team. The days were very busy and we had many patients to help through the process of their visit. This involved doing bloods and observations, both before and after the vaccine, and supporting them throughout the day to make it an efficient, pleasant and professional experience. The three teams of nurses were brought together very quickly and worked well together as one team to deliver the COVID-19 study effectively, efficiently and safely. We all supported each other and used our skills in the best possible way.

More recently, we have also been supporting North Bristol Trust with the second stage of the study, COV002, by helping with pre-screening, screen visits and administration of the vaccines.

It has been an amazing experience for the nurses in the CRN, we have been working with a great team and have loved collaborating with the Trusts to deliver these studies.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.