Cheryl Graham is
a newly appointed research nurse at the Trust, whose job is to support the
research team by finding participants who are currently in the hospital.
The Trust is
working on a number of studies ranging from pneumonia treatments to oxygen
We caught up
with Cheryl to talk about her role and why it’s so important for the Trust to
be involved in research.
“I qualified as
a nurse and got my first job here. I did the Compass rotation, which involves
different placements on different wards. After moving to Critical Care (CC) in
2019, I began the role of research nurse in May this year.
“After working on Critical Care for over two years, when I
came into research nursing it made sense to focus on the studies available to the patients
there. The nurses and consultants know me, I understand the patients, and so
it's easy for me to approach the staff about patients who are eligible for
studies without there being any barriers.”
role is very different to CC nursing. “When you work on CC it’s all about those
particular patients your whole shift, and you do everything for that patient,
whereas in this job you’re picking and choosing your own workload.
“It’s taken me a
bit of time to adapt to being in control of my own workload, depending on what
First thing in
the morning, Cheryl checks Meditech and screens all the ITU and HDU
patients to see if any of them could be eligible for any of the studies she’s
working on. There are five
studies that are currently ongoing on ITU. Most of the patients are eligible on
discusses the patients with consultants on the wards to find out if they agree
over the patient’s eligibility for the studies. Cheryl will then talk with the
patient to tell them about the trial and gain consent.
are not able to consent themselves, Cheryl turns to the families.
“On ITU the
patients are sedated so I ask the families and a lot of them are pretty
receptive to things because it’s such a new experience for them. There is a
whole lot of information for them to take in and they are learning a lot at
that time, so they are listening to you and they are happy to help if it
benefits people in the future.
“I think it’s
good for patients and relatives to be a part of research because they get an
extra person checking in on them and because I used to work on CC it gives them
an extra person covering all the information, and it’s another pair of eyes on
At the minute
the Trust is involved in a study on antifungal tests, which requires a blood
sample from patients with a possible fungal infection. Another study,
UK-ROX, looks at the amount of oxygen used on
patients in ITU.
“Another, REMAP-CAP, is
looking at possible treatments for pneumonia. It’s got a Covid arm to it as
well, a bit like the Recovery Trial,” said Cheryl. “We’re doing the REMAP-CAP
for all HDU/ITU patients, so hopefully that will
lead to more improved treatments for pneumonia, which will have a big impact
because quite a lot of our demographic of ITU patients tend to be respiratory.”
Working to the same protocols
usually set up by a university or larger hospital and other hospitals will feed
“All the studies
the Trust is involved in include a number of hospitals across the UK or the
world, all working on the same thing to the same protocols.
“Any study needs
its sample to be diverse. No matter how big or small your hospital is, you want
research to be representative for everyone, you need a diverse sample and, if
you live here, to have the option of being a part of research is good.”
provide research have overall better outcomes for patients, such as
improvements in mortality.
And for Cheryl,
the role is also a chance to promote research across the Trust.
“It’s a really
diverse role,” says Cheryl. “I think a lot of people don’t really know what a
research nurse does, I think it’s because you become so busy in the role
that you do and work with the patients in front of you that you let other
specialities get on with it. Research is important as all of what
we do within healthcare needs to be based on evidence and we would like
more staff across the trust to be open to research.
“For me, it’s nice to see different patients at different
parts of their journey. You don’t usually see that,
especially if you work on ITU, where you only ever see the sickest, the
worst case scenario, but because I follow patients through to discharge I see
the whole picture a bit more now.”