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Case study: Our Covid Year - Sharon's Story

Our Covid Year

In January last year I set a professional New Year’s resolution to shout out about the role of the Research Nurse/Midwife and how important the role was especially as 2020 was the year of the Nurse and Midwife. Little did I know then, that I did not need to do much shouting - COVID -19 did the job for me.

Last Year research was very much in the spotlight. The world has seen how important research is to gain insight into new diseases, treatments and preventions, especially fighting Covid-19!

The Network appointed several new Nurses, Midwives and Clinical Research Project Assistants (CRPAs) during the crisis and I had the privilege of being their first point of contact. Starting a new job in normal times is challenging enough, however starting a new job during a time when everything is unpredictable must have been very scary.

During the first few weeks of me working at home, I developed an online induction package ready for the new staff members to start. Wendy Osborne, Research Nurse who was the first on scene started on the 24 April 2020. Wendy was brilliant and helped me iron out any issues with the induction. She started her first placement on the COVID 19 studies and she was amazing. Talking to her this week nearly a year on, she is truly enjoying her research journey with the Network. I am happy that we gave her a good foundation to start from.

Looking back on this last year the induction programme has provided many highlights, I may not have been able to shout out more about research and how fantastic working in research is during the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed supporting our new team members start their journey within research at such an unpredictable and demanding time. I have loved having the time to work with them and in return, they teach me a thing or two.

Now we have more new Research Nurses and CRPAs starting, the online induction seems so natural, and I cannot believe how far we have come this last year. Obviously I didn’t do everything on my own as a Network we are brilliant at networking, so thank you to the WorkForce and Development team, Pat and Ibzs, all the new Research Nurses, Midwives, CRPAs and the fantastic Delivery Support Team who buddied up and provided support.

I thought I would share a few comments from new starters about the online induction -

Justyna Tabor CRPA: ‘Being a new starter in a global pandemic, meeting my new team face to face and getting to know my colleagues was not possible. However, I was made to feel welcome and comfortable when virtual meetings were arranged to give me the opportunity learn who my team are and introduce me more to my role.

 ‘Although it was strange and unusual to introduce myself to new people in front of a camera, call after call I started to get used to video meetings and my team showed me that a virtual community was possible. Any questions I had were kindly solved by my lovely colleagues and I was encouraged to reach out and connect with my team if I had any worries and concerns.'

Taridzo Mazenenga CRPA: ‘Due to COVID-19 I had to complete the online induction, which at first seemed like an unfortunate occurrence. However I have come to learn and see the advantages of doing a virtual induction. Not only did it give me the time and opportunity to process everything in my own timing, it also helped me to understand the values and procedures of the NIHR CRN West Midlands and the Royal Wolverhampton Trust in greater depth’.

Sharon Kempson, Senior Research Nurse

February 2021