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Inspiring the next generation of research nurses - a mother and daughter’s experience

Helen Moore is a Research Matron at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust and an NIHR 70@70 Senior Research Nurse Leader. Helen, who has worked in research for 30 years, shares how the infrastructure of research has changed with the introduction of the NIHR Clinical Research Network and why nurses should be considering a career in research

Helen is an advocate for research nursing and is passionate about raising the profile of clinical research. She has passed this enthusiasm onto Lucy who is actively pursuing research as a career pathway. Her daughter, Lucy, is a third year student nurse at the University of Leeds - and is currently undertaking a research placement.

When I took my first post in research in 1991, focusing on head and neck and renal cancers and melanoma, 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 role of a research nurse

Being involved in clinical research nursing may not be what you think it is! As well as delivering high quality care to patients involved in research, clinical research nurses ensure patients are well-informed about the study they are participating in; deliver trial treatments; monitor patient safety and capture study data which can be used to inform healthcare practice and lead to improvements in patient care. 

It is fascinating, exciting and progressive and really allows you to make significant changes for the benefit of patients. Every practice, treatment, intervention or medication we as nurses administer each day exists because of research and the patients who have volunteered. 

Raising the profile of clinical research nursing

Being part of the 70@70 Senior Research Nurse Leader programme, launched with the aim to strengthen the research voice and influence of nurses and midwives, has given me a voice to speak to key people who can help raise the profile of clinical research. I work 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 work on NIHR Portfolio studies, and getting research findings put into practice. 

Clinical research nursing provides opportunities for nurses to work in exciting environments where they can provide high quality care to patients while actively contributing developments in healthcare research. I would say for those considering getting involved in research, try it and see for yourself. Lucy has done just that and her career pathway is now underway.

Inspiring the next generation

Inspired by her Mum’s career, Lucy has chosen to follow in Helen’s footsteps as a nurse and her passion for research is clear:

Research fundamentally underpins everything you do as a nurse. Every student should experience a research placement at some point during their training, to see the hard work supporting their everyday practice. Many of the essays I write as a student revolve around using updated evidence-based research, because of the importance of giving patients the best care. Research discovered all the available COVID vaccines - who knows where we would be in this pandemic without the hard work of all the research teams around the world? We owe them a lot.

My mum is the blueprint of the type of nurse I want to be. I have been brought up in the kindest, most supportive household and I am so lucky that everything I do in nursing is supported by my mum. She has taught me the importance of showing humanity to every single patient regardless of background or lifestyle; everybody deserves kindness. She has also shown me the importance of research. I have the bug now!

 


The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.