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South London research nurse on the LOLIPOP 100K study

We spoke to our Research Nurse Zoi Valla about The London Life Sciences Prospective Population 100K study (LOLIPOP 100K), which is a major UK NIHR-supported research study investigating the mechanisms underlying heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and other major medical problems, focusing on the South Asian community. Zoi co-led the set-up of the LOLIPOP 100K study in south London, and in this blog, she talks about the challenges, highlights and how she felt seeing her work come to fruition with the opening of the study site in Wimbledon.

How does seeing the study up and running in Wimbledon feel?

Most days, the clinics’ attendance is already at full capacity, and patients keep booking appointments for the coming weeks. Seeing this has made me realise how important LOLIPOP is and the positive impact its results could have on people’s lives. Also, running clinics makes me proud and more determined to continue working hard to deliver the study successfully. LOLIPOP is complex in that much coordination and planning were needed before we were ready to start recruiting people. Also, I am very grateful for the senior management team, as they had to get involved in many aspects of the study set-up and my colleagues, who were enthusiastic and willing to support the study. It takes a great team to deliver such complex and large research projects.

What have been the challenges in working on this study?

The first challenge was to organise the members of two teams for doing the weekly and cover rota and deciding who would work which days. I had to remember all the other studies and clinics we had to run and attend. Luckily, the senior management team was mainly involved with that task. Another challenge was organising the training and shadowing days, which needed more planning considering that not only CRN colleagues had to be able to join and attend, but also the study team needed to be available during those days. Also, we all had to travel to a study site already up and running for our training day. In addition, the senior management team visited the Wimbledon site as they had to draft a risk assessment plan to ensure that everything was in place and following current practice guidelines before we could ask the GP practices to start inviting people. Thus, many things needed careful consideration and planning before we could open and run the study at the Wimbledon site.

How many CRN people work in the clinic to support the study?

Both the primary care and direct delivery teams are working on the study. In total, 12 staff members work weekly in the clinic to support the study delivery. We run a clinic daily with two CRN members and one study team member who is the site lead. Also, there are always two more members of the CRN team on a cover rota that we have in place in case of sickness, annual leave, etc.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I am glad I had the chance to co-lead such an important study. I hope we will recruit as many people as possible during the recruitment phase of the study. Also, if our volunteers have a good experience taking part in this project, they will probably be more willing to engage in future studies.

You can learn more about the LOLIPOP 100K study on the South Asian Biobank website.