Norraine Mhlanga is a Staff Nurse at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and also a patient who has been involved in research.
Norraine has been a Patient Research Ambassador (PRA) for the NIHR CRN Greater Manchester for two years. Norraine is passionate about patient involvement and has been involved in many projects including surveys, training, events and support with some of NIHR’s key initiatives such as International Clinical Trials Day, research delivery seminars and INVOLVE workshops.
In October 2017 Norraine was invited to be on the panel for the national Patient Research Ambassador Advisory Group which was set up to support a patient-centered research culture in the NHS. The group looks at ways to help ensure that people using local NHS care have the best opportunities and choices about taking part in research studies.
Norraine says: “I feel that this group is really powerful in its purpose and the people involved have tremendous skills, experiences and professional expertise. I feel very positive about my involvement.”
Norraine has also attended meetings with senior NIHR officers to give a patient's perspective on research, has been involved in workshops to shape PPIE work in the network and last summer helped celebrate the NHS at 70 with a birthday party held at CRN GM's office, an experience which she really enjoyed.
She added: “As a nurse and a patient myself, I feel it is important that I contribute to the PPIE work in the network. Getting involved is so rewarding. As well as knowing I am helping others, it has given me so many opportunities to get involved in varied and interesting projects.”
Most recently, Norraine contributed to the PRA Greater Manchester meeting to explore and shape the role of PRAs, discussing what they wanted out of the role, the benefits of being involved and what support they may need. As a result of this meeting the group generated ideas on how to illustrate what a PRA does in the form of newsletters, leaflets and possibly a video.