A Day in the Life of a Research Nurse by Kristen

Each project is different and involves different tasks but here is an example of a day on a trial that I am currently coordinating.

I attend a multidisciplinary meeting; the respiratory consultants from the different hospitals in the Trust meet to discuss specific patients and treatment options. This is a good opportunity to identify patients who might be suitable for the trial from the whole of the Trust, answer any questions consultants might have about the trial and discuss issues with radiographers.

Set up for patient visits; this involves getting the paperwork ready, preparing laboratory request forms, reviewing patient’s past issues and looking at recent laboratory results to ensure that the patients meet the study safety criteria to have the chemotherapy that day. Also, if required, I would review the latest CT scans.

See the patient; this involves performing study specific tests reviewing adverse events and educating patients on their treatment regime. If any issues come up that the investigator needs to be aware of I would contact them to discuss the patient. Finally, I would ensure the patient leaves the visit with all the information, medications and laboratory request forms they will need to prepare for the next visit.

The afternoon would be spent writing up the visit in the Case Report Form (CRF) and patient medical notes, discussion of progress with the investigator, resolving monitoring queries and DCF's and acting upon any issues that have arisen from the patient’s visit such as sorting out future appointments or expenses, or any issues the monitor feels need attention.

The role is wide and varied and many people need your input. Most important though is being there for the patient and their family, as they may be going through a very difficult time in their lives. In many cases the research nurse can make a big difference by doing the little things such as sorting out appointments and making sure they understand and have enough information. Going through chemotherapy can feel like being processed by a huge machine and I hope it is helpful to patients to have someone knowledgeable to call upon when they feel uncertain.

The Art of Good Clinical Practice

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