Tamanna Kabir, Research Nurse, National Heart and Lung Institute 

“I’m now part of the Grenfell Firefighters Study team, examining the physical health outcomes of almost 800 London firefighters who attended the Grenfell Tower fire.”

I’m a Research Nurse at the National Heart and Lung Institute, currently working with firefighters all day!  

My journey here was a bit like crossing a bridge and tunnel to reach the same destination. Intrigued by human behaviour, I completed a psychology degree but couldn’t see myself adopting its indirect approach. I then worked in charities and enjoyed building more therapeutic relationships with people, so trained as a nurse. I rarely saw people like me in either field. But when I discovered nurses could be researchers, I suddenly thought – why not me? 

I’m now part of the Grenfell Firefighters Study team, examining the physical health outcomes of almost 800 London firefighters who attended the Grenfell Tower fire. It’s undoubtedly a sensitive topic which I’m fortunate to gain insight into. I support firefighters to take part in the study, perform heart/lung function assessments and blood tests, then discuss their results. In the future, we’ll monitor medium and long-term health outcomes by reviewing their health records. 

I also coordinate the study with the research team and the London Fire Brigade. It’s very satisfying doing groundwork like writing policies and watching them come to life when meeting the people it affects, something I didn’t have to opportunity to do in other nursing roles. 

Although it’s very different to working with people who are unwell, I’ve enhanced various clinical skills in this role such as performing medical assessments, engaging with underrepresented groups, communicating complex scientific information, and providing reassurance when results are abnormal. 

We’ve already started presenting our initial study findings and will finalise recruitment in December 2022. Beyond the study, I’ve also published my first paper – something I never thought I’d do so soon in my first research role! 

Beyond work I enjoy live music, guitar, long walks, travelling. I’d like to nurse abroad and own a music café – perhaps that’s another bridge and tunnel to cross!

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