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Case study: East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust are helping to shape the future of research

Clinical Endoscopist, Jude Tidbury; Diabetes Lead Podiatrist/Integrated Care Diabetes Lead Podiatrist and Principal Investigator, Anna Edleston; and Clinical Lead Nurse, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Infusion Service, Kelly Mintrim, talk about their research careers and why undertaking research is important.

Jude Tidbury, Clinical Endoscopist

“I first became involved with research 10 years ago. As the infusion unit manager, I was approached by Dr Panthakalam and the rheumatology team to help provide the infusions for the rheumatology research patients. Since then, I have expanded my research portfolio taking on more trials.

The highlight of my research career was receiving an award for being the fastest recruiter for the IBD Bioresource trial in the southeast.

To undertake research, you need to have great communication skills to discuss the research options with the patients and explain what is required and why, also organisation skills are needed to find the patients.

Research is important not only to help find cures but also can provide alternative treatment options to patients who have exhausted all usual forms of treatment.

I would like to open a couple more trials within endoscopy which is my current area of practice. Research is not usually undertaken within this department, and I would like to make research the ‘norm’." 

"Research doesn't have to just be for clinicians, experienced nurses can take on trials as well.” 

Anna Edleston, Diabetes Lead Podiatrist/Integrated Care Diabetes Lead Podiatrist and Principal Investigator

“My first experience of being involved in research was for my Master of Science degree dissertation where I designed and conducted a pilot study to examine the optimum resting interval before performing an Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI). I was able to apply the results to my clinical practice and improve patient outcomes.

Within my two roles as NHS Diabetes Clinical Lead and University Clinical Educator, I can be involved in research across different settings. Within these roles, I simultaneously and actively apply evidence-based clinical guidelines to the teaching and delivery of clinical podiatric care. As a Clinical Educator at the University of Brighton, for the past ten years, part of my role has been to act as research supervisor to undergraduate and post-graduate students in my field of expertise and embed research into the student curriculum.

More recently my development of research within my NHS lead role has extended to becoming a Principal Investigator in a NIHR-funded trial aimed at reducing the impact of diabetic foot ulcers.

I am pleased to take my research experience to the next level leading a trial acting as Principal Investigator and raising the profile of podiatry and Allied Health Professions participation in research.

You need to be an excellent communicator who can work well with research teams and have excellent project management skills, attention to detail, be analytical, and have the ability to apply evidence-based practice in the clinical setting.

Research is important to advance clinical practice and innovation. 

I would like to develop my research skills further and hope to participate in more research activities. I would like to undertake more research of my own, write publications, or even complete a PhD.”

Kelly Mintrim, Clinical Lead Nurse, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Infusion Service

“I first became involved in research as a clinical research nurse in 2014 where I supported commercial and non-commercial studies in rheumatology and gastroenterology. This led me to manage the infusion unit in 2018 where I continue to support research.

My highlight was working with a trial that saw the development of a new rheumatology biologic, which became licenced and we now administer the treatment on the infusion unit. I feel like I have been part of something bigger, plus I’m able to share with the patients who have concerns about these types of medications how the drug was in a trial as I understand the safety data.

Research is important as it is the essence of healthcare. We work on evidence-based best practice and we should be part of that evidence. On the Infusion unit alone we have seen the impact the advancements make to chronically unwell patients as more treatments become available."

"I plan to remain involved in research as I further develop in my career. As clinical lead, I heavily promote research to ensure it remains a priority within services and the trust.” 

Kelly and her team are currently supporting the IMID (Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases) BioResource ( study at Eastbourne District General Hospital.