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Case study: My experience of Research for the Future, Mandy Williams

We spoke to Mandy Williams, Research Nurse, Clinical Research Network, North West Coast, about her experience taking part in a study via Research for the Future.

Earlier this year, the Network launched Research for the Future across the North West Coast region. Research for the Future is an initiative that aims to facilitate recruitment into NIHR portfolio studies and other health and care research using a regional, multi-site ‘consent for approach’ model. Research for the Future can support you to involve, engage and recruit the right people into your research. Research for the Future is an NHS supported campaign that helps people find out about and take part in health and care research.  Getting involved in research means you are helping to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and manage illnesses.

Everyone is welcome to register with Research for the Future, whether you have a health condition or not. The only requirement is that you must live in England and be 18 years or over. Registering means we will inform you about research opportunities you may wish to take part in.

Research For The Future  offers opportunities to get involved in research across all health conditions as well as for healthy volunteers.

There are many different types of research to get involved with including:

  • helping to design a study
  • being part of a discussion group
  • completing a survey
  • helping to test new equipment, or
  • being involved in a clinical trial.

We spoke to Mandy Williams, Research Nurse, Clinical Research Network, North West Coast, about her experience taking part in a study via Research for the Future. “Following the presentation about Research for the Future by Katherine Grady, Programme Development Manager at Research For The Future,  I registered and was contacted within about 2 weeks for a study I was suitable for. It was the Monoply study looking at chronic pain and how the brain interprets pain signals etc.”

“The study involved an initial 3 hour visit during which time an EEG was done whilst I was completing tasks and then when I was stimulated with some pain on a couple of fingers on my left hand. Whilst this was unpleasant it was tolerable and actually quite interesting, especially as I had never had an EEG before. On the second 1.5 hour visit I had to have an MRI of my brain, which again was a first for me! I have had MRI’s before but of my knee and kidney, but this one involved me wearing a helmet type device to keep my head still and going all the way into the scanner as opposed to just a bit of me going in! This made it all a bit more scary but the staff were great and gave me a panic button in case I needed to come out, and there was a screen above me to look at and during one part of the scan I needed to concentrate on a task.”

“It was an interesting experience all in all and nice to see it from the other side and whilst I was really apprehensive about the study initially and almost didn’t do it I then thought ‘you’re a research nurse, you can’t recruit other people to studies if you’re not prepared to do it yourself’ and we should be leading by example. I did even get paid which was an added bonus. I’ve written this article to promote Research for the Future and encourage everyone to get involved. It would be great if we could get everyone registered and all get involved in being a part of future research.”

To sign up to Research for the Future, click here. For more information about Research for the Future, or if you are a researcher looking for participants for a PPIE activity or study and would like to know more about how Research for the Future can help please email greg.woodley@nihr.ac.uk.