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Case study: Q&A: Olivia Rule - Research Paramedic at CRN Wessex

An interview with Research Paramedic Olivia Rule about her role in the Direct Delivery Team at CRN Wessex.

The new Direct Delivery Team (DDT) at the Clinical Research Network (CRN) Wessex will play a pivotal role in facilitating research in Dorset, Hampshire, South Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

We speak to Olivia Rule, a Research Paramedic at CRN Wessex, about her experience of working in the DDT and what she's enjoying most about her role.

When did you join the CRN Wessex Direct Delivery team?

I started at the beginning of August 2022.

How are you settling in?

I find the work interesting and my colleagues are very friendly and helpful.

Please tell us a little bit about your role within the team.

I am a research paramedic. I fill the same role as a nurse within the DDT. I help with face-to-face consults, phone consults and recruitment. Day to day I am usually involved in clinics, explaining studies to patients, taking blood, and gathering information from the participants. I like to think of my job as the face of the study, as we are the people the participants interact with.

Is this your first role within research?

This is my first research role. I was a combat medic in the New Zealand Army for six years. I then spent two years working for the NHS ambulance service in Wiltshire before moving to this role.

What have you found most rewarding, enjoyable or interesting about your role so far?

I most enjoy the face-to-face element of my job. I enjoy chatting with the participants and hearing their stories as to how they ended up being involved in our studies. I find the end results of the research very interesting, and the process of how we got to that point is also rewarding.

Any moments where you've felt proud of yourself or colleagues since being in the role?

On a couple of occasions during my venesection training in the phlebotomy clinic, patients commented along the lines of "Oh, normally they really struggle to get blood from me but you've done it with no problems; you can bleed me again next time!". Naturally it wasn't always as plain sailing as that but when you do get that kind of positive feedback it gives you that inner confidence to know you are at least on the right path!

What have you found challenging about your role so far?

Research is very detailed and it is takes a while to get the hang of how to do the paperwork to the specific requirements.

How would you describe the role of the Direct Delivery Team?

Eventually we will be delivering research to under-served populations. I would describe the team as being flexible, adaptable, and open minded.

What are you most looking forward to career wise in the next six months?

I am looking forward to the DDT picking up some of our own studies to work on. I am personally excited to begin working in different environments. As a paramedic I enjoy home visits and working within populations which are not always hospital based, such as care homes.