Clinical Research Nurse
Bernie returned to nursing after a career break to bring up her family. She started work at the Primary Care CTU initially for just three months on the Invictus flu trial - that was five years ago!
“It’s lovely to see the positive response to research from the public as a result of the pandemic. It’s great to be working in a job that is really appreciated, highly prized and hugely valued.”
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE?
In a nutshell, the nursing team is the ‘face of the trial’ for the patient. We have direct contact with them. This used to be face to face through clinics and GP surgeries but for the last two years it has been remote working. We explain the trial to patients, making sure they understand their involvement in the trial, we talk them through informed consent and the trial pathway and ensure they are happy to participate.
Signing up for a trial means you are doing something to help others, people are kind. It’s the really nice side of health care.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY?
It’s all about contact with patients, helping them to set up and use equipment, answering queries they may have and follow up calls. We also talk to GP surgeries and assist them with the trials.
We all hope to get back to face to face patient contact but for the moment everything is still remote working. There’s also lots of phone calls. Every patient in PANORAMIC has had a phone call from the clinical team and almost every patient in PRINCIPLE has had contact with the clinical team. The numbers are huge, well into the tens of thousands and that doesn’t take into account the thousands we have spoken to who weren’t eligible to join the trials – that’s an awful lot of phone calls!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT THE JOB?
It’s the best job in the world! And that’s all down to the team.
Before I started, I thought research would be a bit dull and remote from people but it’s not like that at all. I enjoy learning new things and I like the exactness of research, it’s a perfect job for me.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM WORKING IN THE TRIAL TEAM?
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING PART OF THE ROLE?
Being part of the supreme effort over the last two years.
And I would say we are a better team for it. We were taken out of our comfort zone and we had to learn a lot, and very quickly. So we’ve got new skills and it has made us stronger - but we couldn’t have done it without each other.
WHAT IS THE MOST STRESSFUL PART OF THE ROLE?
Same answer as the previous question! “Being part of the supreme effort over the last two years!”
There have been huge lows and difficult times but we have shown how resilient we are.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR LASTING MEMORIES OF THE LAST TWO YEARS?
How at the beginning, we couldn’t even share communal tea bags!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
The CTU Research Nurse Team. We have been nominated and are finalists for an Oxford University Hospital Trust recognition award for our work. It’s great to be valued and recognised, it’s given the team a huge lift.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE FUTURE?
Going back to face to face consultations and a normal summer holiday!