What’s it like to…be a research nurse?

My move from paediatric intensive care nursing to research nursing was a natural and exciting one. Both roles require excellent communication skills, whether that’s talking to patients and their families, or members of the multidisciplinary team.

I really enjoy being able to take the time to approach families to be involved in studies. Helping people understand the value of their contribution can be beneficial to them during what can be a difficult time in hospital. In addition, the attention for detail I gained working in intensive care is one that I have been able to readily use in research nursing, ensuring accurate sample processing, data collection and thorough documentation.

I now work at the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s (IGHI) Helix Centre, supporting their research activities for the Paediatric Medication Safety Project. Becoming embedded within a diverse team of clinicians, designers, technologists and engineers, all working together to create tangible digital solutions for problems in healthcare practice is very rewarding.

The world of medication ordering, preparing and administration to patients in hospital is complex, particularly in an era that is aiming for truly personalised care. Working together, we will be able to smooth out some of the technological wrinkles faced in practice. We hope to provide professionals with the information and support they need right at their fingertips.

I am proud to have been given the opportunity to continue my work at IGHI as a Clinical Research Fellow. I am now in the second year of my PhD, which is both daunting and exciting in equal measure. I really enjoy the variety of tasks in this role, from recruiting participants, writing study protocols, to presenting our results to the wider healthcare community.

I want to use my experience as a clinical nurse and research nurse to produce impactful outputs in clinical practice and subsequently improve patient care. That is after all why we do what we do.

Calandra Feather is a clinical research fellow and paediatric nurse at IGHI’s Helix Centre.

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