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South London Nurse on the ongoing need for COVID-19 research

We spoke to Research Nurse Sherin John about her important work in the COVID-19 vaccine research team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

What is your role?

Since April 2022, serving as a Research Nurse in the dedicated COVID-19 and infectious disease research team has been a privilege and a profound learning experience. My duties as a Research Nurse include some of the following, but it is not an exhaustive list:

  • Setting up and running research trials
  • Screening and recruiting volunteers, gaining informed consent, collecting samples, administering study-related treatments, monitoring volunteers and maintaining documentation
  • Liaising with sponsors and teams regarding study updates
  • Acting as a role model, patient advocate and mentor
  • Keeping up to date with the latest developments in research

What are some of the things you enjoy most about your role?

Navigating the complex landscape of infectious disease research has been challenging, but it has also been immensely rewarding. In this role, I have witnessed first-hand the resilience of our healthcare system and our team's unwavering commitment. Our team was one of the key research sites that played a role in changing the COVID-19 vaccine programme. Together, we've contributed to groundbreaking public health research through quality and excellence that aligns with our department's mission, which I am immensely proud of. From the front lines of research trials to the intricacies of data collection and patient care, each day has presented me with new opportunities for growth and impact.

Why is COVID-19 research still important?

COVID-19 has shown the ability to mutate, leading to the emergence of new variants. Continued research is crucial to understand these variants, their transmissibility, severity and impact on vaccine efficacy. This information is vital for updating vaccines and adapting public health measures.

What are some of the challenges you face in your role?

Addressing and countering misinformation and myths related to COVID-19 is an ongoing challenge. Providing accurate information to the public is essential for building trust and prompting informed decision-making.

What are your priorities for 2024 in your role?

To continue educating the public about taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials and other public health research. All research contributes to generating new evidence that can support individuals in making better-informed decisions about their health.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

While progress has been made, the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 virus has emphasized the need for sustained research, adaptation of strategies and a united effort to overcome the impact of the pandemic and prepare for future health crises.

If you’d like to find out about the latest COVID-19 research taking place in London, visit the Be Part of Research website.