Being a Clinical Research Nurse is an interesting and rewarding job. I sometimes have to remind myself, that what I do in work on a daily basis could be making an important impact in the future of health care.

As a Clinical Research Nurse, we are faced with different challenges to those of our colleagues on the wards. Each day is different and the role broadens our skills in varying ways. If we start our shift at 8am, we will attend a team handover meeting with all the staff on the unit. This will be conducted by the ‘Nurse in Charge’ for that week. The meeting will consist of what shift we are on and what our duties are assigned for each individual that day. The duties we are assigned will include screening visits for participants, scheduled visits for clinical trials, organisational meetings and training schedules.  If we are not assigned duties for that shift, we will work with our colleagues by assisting them with their duties or we will utilise this time to train others.  We will maintain our workload to ensure our clinical trial documents and files are up to date. There is always something to do.

After our morning handover meeting, we work as a multi-disciplinary team to ensure our facilities are safe for all participants. We will perform quality control checks on all equipment as participant safety is paramount, as in all areas of the Trust.

An example of a week in my role would consist of screening visits which means a participant will be screened through blood tests, observations and physical examination after informed consent was obtained by the Physician. This will deem whether they would be eligible for the trial in which they volunteered to participate in. I could also be assigned a scheduled visit on one day. This would mean a participant who is scheduled to come in as part of an ongoing trial; they may require blood tests, ECG or observations as part of their participation. This could be a trial I am the Lead Nurse for or it could be for another trial as we work across all trials in various specialities. It is an important aspect that we all work together to ensure high standards are maintained for our on-going clinical trials. We sometimes facilitate residential stays as part of the monitoring for a clinical trial which could mean I could be on day or night shifts.

A large aspect of my role is sharing knowledge with my peers. We learn from each other every day. All members of the team have varying backgrounds and we value each other’s input and knowledge. Tomorrow I have been assigned a training session with a Physician and a Senior Data Officer. This will include a handover of knowledge from a recent Site Initiation Visit (SIV) I attended for one of my clinical trials. This training will be trial-specific and without this, my colleagues cannot participate in any of those trial activities.

Today I participated in an emergency scenario. Due to the nature of the clinical trials we run on the unit, we need to be prepared for any eventuality, and the emergency scenario is to practice our method of ensuring we know how to react and manage any scenario.

What do you enjoy most about being a Clinical Research Nurse?

I enjoy learning something new every day. I believe there is always something to learn and I thrive on that. All the staff works together as a team and we all value each other’s input.

All of the participants are amazing. They are so generous to give us their time and their input is helping us to improve how we work and manage or treat medical conditions in the future.

What is the hardest part of your job?

I found adapting to a different way of nursing the most difficult thing. I come from a background of clinical skills on a ward and in a dialysis unit, so it was a complete change from what I was used to.

What advice would you give to somebody considering being a Clinical Research Nurse as a career?

It is completely different to ward nursing but if you fancy a challenge and a new learning experience then go for it! It can be really rewarding knowing you’re making a difference.

If you're interested in a career in nursing at the CRF you can visit our careers page for current vacancies or alternatively go to NHS Jobs for further details.

 

James Watmore