Giving nurses a voice in the International Year of the Nurse & Midwife: Helen's story
By Sister Helen Moore, Clinical Trials Manager & Trust Lead Research Nurse, Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Helen has worked in research for 29 years, after originally qualifying in 1986 in Manchester. She was working at the Royal Marsden in London when a research post came up in 1991, focussing on head and neck and renal cancers and melanoma. ‘It was an exciting time to be in research as it was at the start of biologic treatments such as Interferon, and gene therapy,’ she says.
Since those days, the whole infrastructure of research has changed, with the introduction of the Clinical Research Network. ‘Back when I started, maybe 2% of patients were offered the opportunity to take part in cancer trials, but now it’s nearer 20%. The whole process is much more streamlined and there is much less working in silos, resulting in more equal access.
‘The most satisfying part has been recruiting lots of patients to early studies with good results, such as the international HERA breast cancer study, which has become the standard of care and directly improved outcomes for patients.’
70@70: The NIHR Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader Programme
Helen is also currently working on the 70@70 programme which was launched in 2018, the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Funded by the Department of Health & Social Care, through the NIHR, it aims to strengthen the research voice and influence of nurses and midwives in health and social care settings.
Helen says: ‘The programme has given me a voice to speak to key people who can help raise the profile of clinical research across the Trust and beyond - for example it has given me access to our Chief Nurse and the Care Quality Commission on their recent visit. I am working on it two days a week over three years with fellow staff and patients, developing researchers of the future - to either do their own research or working on NIHR Portfolio studies, and getting research findings put into practice.
‘We have also worked with patients to put together our Patient & Public Involvement & Engagement Strategy.
‘And we are running a Preceptorship Programme at the Trust, which is very exciting - all newly qualified nurses will have to do some sort of research and I am holding once a month research drop-ins for them. Next year we will give an award for the best project and this will be presented by the editor of the Nursing Times’.
You can read more about the programme here.
Helen has three main hopes for the future of research:
- More patients and the public will be offered the opportunity to take part in a study
- The importance of research will be higher on Trust agendas
- The role of the research nurse and midwife as specialists will receive more recognition and understanding