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Case study: Putting a positive spin on the last two years - Wendy's Story

Putting a positive spin on an unprecedented two years

I was asked to do a presentation on my first two years as a research nurse within the CRN West Midlands. As I was writing it I realised just how positive my experience has been. I started working with the Network in April 2020, right at the beginning of the Covid-19 period. The phrase “this is not how we normally work” was to become one I heard very often!

I have been asked how it has affected me - starting during Covid times, and I have been apologised to on many occasions for things being “not normal” but I have to say, I don’t feel at all that I have been disadvantaged by this. I actually feel very lucky to have joined when I did. I have had the benefit of working on some quite unusual studies which probably wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Covid-19. As a paeds nurse, getting to work in a school, testing children for Covid-19 was an absolute joy and didn’t feel like work at all. And if you didn’t get to stand on an airport carpark, dressed in full PPE waving swabs and tubes around in front of people’s windscreens, then you missed out!

I have had the benefit of working alongside people who normally work in a more senior role and who usually work in primary care whilst I work in secondary. I have been part of a team working on ground-breaking new studies in the fight against Covid-19 and vaccine studies which have helped the whole world.

I have met and made friends with some amazing research nurses along the way and have learnt an immense amount in my first two years. I have seen research take a front seat in the media and the (hopefully long-term) changes that have come about by necessity which have made research faster-moving.

So, I really don’t think I have suffered by things being “not the way we normally work”. I think I’ve been incredibly lucky!