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Case study: My Path in Research - Danielle's Story

Designing and running a research study

Danielle Hartill, a Clinical Academic Leader at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has designed a tissue viability research study and is leading on it for the Trust. She works part time at Walsall supporting students, and part time at the University of Wolverhampton, after leaving her role as a tissue viability nurse six months ago.

C-Skin was developed by Dani after the tissue viability team noticed a marked increase in pressure ulcers amongst hospitalised patients with Covid-19.  She designed the study, along with the tissue viability team  to investigate whether Covid was contributing to the increase in deep tissue injuries.

She approached the Trust’s R&D Team and contacts at Stafford University for help, as this was the first time she had run a study from the start, although she is also Principal Investigator for the NIHR-sponsored VenUS-6 trial.

A Consensus Working Group was set up to agree the definition of the change to be observed, and this included lay people, tissue viability specialists and one of the affected patients.

They observed patients and counted incidences of pressure ulcers amongst Covid patients at both Walsall and the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust from December 2019 to June 2021 and found 96 in all. These results will be compared with numbers of Covid patients with no skin changes and the results shared nationally.

Dani said: “I have learnt a lot from setting up my first study - it takes a lot of time and effort and now I know what to do in future.  I would definitely do it again - research is invaluable. How could we improve our practice without it?”

She added: “It’s been really worthwhile and I would like to thank the R&D Team who have been really supportive.  It goes to show that anyone can carry out research if they have a good idea and the right support.”

Interested in pursuing a career in research?  Check out Your Path In Research.