International Nurses Day 2019 - CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex Primary Care Research Nurses
Clinical Research Network (CRN) Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) has three research nurses and a senior research nurse who work within the primary care team. The CRN KSS team coordinate and run studies in GP practices where there isn’t capacity to carry out research, as well as provide mentoring, training and ongoing support for all practice staff involved in primary care research. The nurses work alongside the primary care team facilitators who support GP practices being, or becoming, research active. To mark International Nurses Day 2019 we are highlighting their important role.
Claire Cox is Senior Research Nurse for the network, Claire says: “I feel privileged to work within an exceptional primary care research delivery team that successfully enable patients to access research opportunities. We are a flexible workforce and have made a significant impact by increasing the number of trials open and recruiting, growing the opportunity for people to take part in high quality clinical research. This is achieved by a number of things primarily through great relationships we have with colleagues, study teams, patients, practices and the wider clinical research nurse team.”
Dr Hugo Wilson, a GP for Mid Sussex Health Care and said: “Our practice is engaged in NHS research, but this has been made possible through the excellent support we have received from the NIHR nurse team. The pressure on primary care nursing is such that we have struggled to find sufficient staff time in-house. The NIHR nurse team have been invaluable in the process of initiating and completing research in our practice.”
Primary care research nurses Julia Rooney and Angela Dunne are based in Sussex and Sandra Mononga is based in Kent.
Sandra Mononga said: “Before starting my role at the CRN, I worked as a general nurse within the private sector. While I was working I studied Public Health as I wanted to work in the community to focus on preventive measures. During my public Health training there was a lot of emphasis on the need for more research on management of chronic diseases in the community such as cancer,obesity, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, hypertension, dementia just to mention a few. I then become interested in clinical research. I went on to study for a postgraduate degree in clinical research. Clinical research is essential in building the scientific foundation for clinical nursing practice.
“I joined the CRN 2016 after completing my studies. Being part of the CRN Research Nurse Team gives me the opportunity to provide evidence based care to my patients.
“Working as a research nurse is very rewarding as you work with other professionals to help improve treatment outcomes and still have an element of patient contact. Everyday is different. It’s a mix of being autonomous and working with different multidisciplinary teams on a wide range of studies in different primary care settings. We are constantly learning about new studies and potentially new and better ways to deliver healthcare.”
Julia Rooney said: “Before this role I was a Sister of a Cardiac Care Unit for many years during which time many advances were made in cardiac care through research. Patient outcomes were dramatically improved and this was where my passion for research and its efficacy was born. As an evidenced based profession, clinical research is absolutely key.
“As nurses we hope to make a difference to patients lives.However what’s really special about this role is that through our work in clinical research we are not only having a positive impact on the patients that we see, but together we are also changing care for patients in the future. The studies we are involved in will change lives, one cannot underestimate the value of that.
“I am very privileged to work with the patients that I work with who give up their time to participate in clinical research for the greater good. Working within clinical research is an opportunity to afford patients’ time ensuring each and every patient feels heard and valued, acknowledging them and their uniqueness.Through the recruitment process I am able to address their understandable worries or concerns which hopefully means they also have a meaningful and worthwhile experience as a result. In the last six years I have worked with so many wonderful patients and genuinely consider myself extremely fortunate to have done so.”
Angela Dunne said: “I always wanted to do something that made a difference which is why I chose a career in nursing. I enjoy my role as a research nurse; the patient is at the centre of everything we do and their safety and wellbeing is the first priority.
“The role provides the opportunity for one-to-one patient contact where we can spend quality time with patients and help them reach an informed understanding of the treatment options available as well as providing support throughout their care pathway. We provide practical information about the study and act as the point of contact for research-related queries but we are also available to provide information and reassurance about existing medical conditions.
“Within primary care, as with other areas of the NHS, there is a lot of pressure in terms of workload and capacity. GPs and practice nurses who have a passion for research may not have the time to set up and run studies, so the NIHR research nurses provide the support that makes this possible. We provide patients within primary care the opportunity to take part in clinical research.
“Working as a research nurse within primary care is rewarding and I’m always impressed by the altruistic nature of our patients; they give up their time for study appointments and agree to be randomised to trial interventions. I have been lucky enough to meet many wonderful patients who volunteer to participate in research for the benefit of others. They know that the research we do may not directly benefit them but that it could have a positive impact for future generations.
Angela, Claire, Julia and Sandra all say: “We cannot recommend the role highly enough, it is a wonderfully rewarding job. We went into nursing because we wanted to work with patients and provide high quality care. This role ticks all the boxes - it allows us to utilise our clinical backgrounds and improve the patient experience and means that we can continue to make a difference.”