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‘Keep Making a Difference’ campaign nominated for Nursing Times Awards

‘Keep Making a Difference’ campaign nominated for Nursing Times Awards

A Pan-London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) campaign has been shortlisted in the Nursing Times Awards 2019. The campaign aimed at nurses and midwives called ‘Keep Making a Difference’ aims to raise awareness of clinical research as a career option and encourage those who might be considering leaving a career in nursing or midwifery, approaching retirement, or seeking a career change to consider becoming a research nurse or research midwife.

The campaign, launched in September 2018, was developed in response to NHS Digital figures showing one in ten nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year. The campaign was led by Helen Graham, Lead Cancer Research Nurse at CRN North West London and invites nurses and midwives to learn more about clinical research and demonstrates how to transfer existing clinical skills into a research role. People can hear from research nurse and midwife champions, access one-to-one support and shadow a local research team to further understand the role.

Eleanor Nolan heard about the campaign and is now a research nurse within the breast oncology research team at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW). Eleanor said: “After working in industry for most of my career I was on the Bank at MTW as I wanted to return to nursing practice. I was told about the ‘Keep Making a Difference’ team by someone who had been at the Royal College of Nursing (RCNi) Careers Fair and after speaking to Helen Graham I went to visit the R&D team at MTW.  I was told about a research nurse vacancy within the Kent Oncology Centre, which I interviewed for and was given the job. 

“I was interested in working in research, especially within the breast cancer specialty as it is an area that interests me and I wanted to further understand the developments within breast cancer treatment.” 

Claire Pegg, Trust Lead Research Nurse at MTW said: ‘The Keep Making a Difference campaign’ has had such a positive impact for us as a Trust. We were very fortunate to be the first site that recruited a member of staff that returned back to nursing and into the field of research. Our nurse was employed at the end of last year into a breast oncology research post. Since then, we have seen a rise in the number of patients with this condition that we have been able to offer research to. Our nurse brings with her a wealth of life experience, that adds significant value to her patient contact and the way she manages her caseload.”

Caroline Cowley, Lead Research Nurse for CRN Kent, Surrey and Sussex said: “The campaign was a great example of collaboration across CRN networks and was a great success in raising the profile of clinical research as a career option. The campaign reached over 700 nurses and midwives across four networks, spreading the word that working in research is a rewarding and exciting role that enables nurses and midwives to really make a difference to patient care and outcomes. 

The passion demonstrated and expressed by those nurses and midwives already in research was key to the success of the campaign as they shared their experiences both online and in person through the shadowing opportunities offered. As this was an awareness campaign the fact that MTW recruited from the campaign was a real bonus.”

The winners of the Nursing Times Awards will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 30 October 2019.

Visit the Keep Making a Difference website to find out more information about becoming a research nurse.