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Case study: Implementing the Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES): North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

We interviewed the team at North Cumbria to find out how they have found delivering PRES and what lessons they have learnt from it.

The Participant in Research Experience Survey (PRES) is a survey designed to gather near real-time feedback from research participants, aiming to better understand their experience and improve our research service for participants. An excellent example of how PRES feedback can be implemented is demonstrated by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC). This case study highlights the benefits of PRES, the challenges faced during delivery, and the actions taken to address feedback from both staff and research participants.

NCIC wished to enhance their delivery of research, by asking as many research participants as possible to give feedback on their research experience. To achieve this, team members underwent training on delivering PRES. The Involvement and Engagement Manager at NIHR CRN NENC, Dan Duhrin, facilitated valuable team sessions, equipping staff with the necessary skills to conduct PRES effectively.

Despite some initial technical difficulties for participants and staff in accessing PRES via their IT systems and online links, staff at NCIC were determined to overcome these hurdles. Through resourcefulness and problem-solving, they devised strategies to overcome these challenges, allowing them to meet their target for collecting PRES responses in the first six months. Additionally, they are in the process of acquiring additional tablets to help facilitate the digital PRES survey. This investment will enable more flexibility in delivering PRES and reaching a larger number of research participants.

The feedback received from research participants thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, resulting in several benefits for NCIC. Fiona Dixon, Interim Research and Delivery Manager for NCIC, said:

Overall we think that PRES has been well received by the staff and the research participants. Staff appreciate and acknowledge the benefits of doing PRES and how this can improve their own practice and the service they give overall.

To date, we have only had really positive feedback, but this in itself is a benefit as it boosts staff morale and gives them a sense of worthwhileness regarding all of their hard work.

Noteworthy positive feedback which has instilled a sense of fulfilment in staff’s work from research participants include:

  1. "I wanted to give something back, and this helped me to do that. It was made very easy for me to join in because the research nurse came to me. No travelling - excellent."
  2. "Gave me the chance to add to research to help others. Information was easy to understand and was explained well. Good support and advice."
  3. "Friendly, helpful researcher. I have recently been told I have Parkinson's. My mother had Parkinson's and my grandmother too. I was shocked and feeling alone. The research nurse spent time explaining the condition and the reason why the research is important, she also gave me the local contact details for Parkinson's UK support team and the Parkinson’s nurse specialist at my local hospital. Grateful for the support and advice."
  4. "Can't see how it could be better."

To ensure continuous improvement, NCIC has established a monthly reporting system. The Assistant Psychologist generates a report that is shared with all research staff. This process enables staff members to review and act upon any feedback received, thereby keeping PRES at the forefront of the agenda and their minds and promoting ongoing enhancement.

The majority of research participants have found the PRES experience to be simple and user-friendly once they were able to access the provided link. This positive response further underscores the effectiveness and ease of use associated with PRES.

The implementation of PRES within the trust has yielded positive outcomes, despite initial challenges in delivering the survey. Staff members have recognised the value of PRES in improving their practice, and research participants have appreciated the convenience and support offered throughout the survey process. By actively addressing feedback and maintaining regular communication, NCIC continues to enhance the PRES experience for all stakeholders involved in research activities.