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The Emergency Department research team at Barts: a first class team you have to meet

Posted on by Kelly Gleason in Collaborative Network, Professional Development, Research

I had the pleasure this month of being introduced to the research team in the emergency department at Barts Health NHS Trust, a very busy department serving the East side of central London. They were poster winners at the regional NIHR Celebrating Clinical Research Nurses day in London and they presented their work at International Nurses’ Day on May 12th. I was intrigued by them. Their work seemed so different from what I knew and their sense of team was so strong it was almost palpable. So I asked if I could meet the team and they graciously opened their doors and invited me to join them at one of their regular research meetings. It didn’t take long before I saw exactly why they were winners: they are one hot team! They have all the necessary ingredients for success. Here is what I saw that I think are the essential ingredients for success when building research into a service.

Leadership: They have both medical and nursing leadership.  The lead PI is passionate and has been dedicated to building a portfolio and a team for almost a decade…this kind of determination is truly what it takes to build and grow something of value. He was aware of the infrastructure that supports portfolio studies and how to engage in order for his team to benefit from this system. They also had strong nursing leadership with a senior nurse to oversee the nursing team and ensure they had the support and guidance they needed for study set up and recruitment.

Engagement: Everyone attends the meetings – doctors, nurses and students.  The medics discussed GCP training for the medics, and study feasibility; this is considered a shared responsibility.  Both the medical and nursing teams were aware of patient recruitment targets as well as the metrics for measuring success according to the NIHR. They flag any concerns early and address them together. The research team also work hard to remain part of the care team, responding quickly to assist during emergencies and help where they can. They realise this breakdown of barriers is necessary for research to be successful in a busy Emergency Department (ED).

Teamwork: They meet both as a local and as a regional team. Everyone seems very dedicated and everyone has clear lines of responsibilities. They all recruit to all studies but one person leads on each individual study. Everyone has a say, they each report on the studies that they lead on. They assess their recruitment not only by numbers but also on the percentage of the month that is covered. ED patients arrive at any time of day or night, so the research nurses have to cover various shifts to have a presence from 8 am to midnight.

They are committed to developing people not just research: There is training available for nurses, support for doctors in other centres to develop their own research portfolio and research teams, training for all staff in the ED department. Students presented their projects at the meeting; they seemed well supported and worked on meaningful projects – projects that would provide an evidence base for practice in ED.

They do research that matters: They choose studies strategically for their patient population and aim to have studies for the various patient groups coming through the ED. The research they carry out can change practice not only in their ED but also in EDs across the world.  It struck me how clinically focused their work was and what a delight it was to understand it all! I have spent enough hours in meetings where the scientists (who are very excited about their experiment outcomes) present their work and I try, I really try to follow their story but inevitably they lose me. Well it was exciting to REALLY understand the basis of a research project that can be explained in clinical terms.  Hail to the nurses who learn all about the science but can I also get an AMEN for research that is simply understandable in clinical terms? AMEN (thank you).  When interviewing the team, they often mention evidence based practice and it became very obvious to me why when I attended their meeting. Their research is very clinically based and outcomes can quickly influence practice unlike some research studies that may take years before they change how we treat patients.  I suppose research in ED is much like medicine in ED, fast paced with more immediate effect.

Recognition: This team feels recognised for their efforts. They are hard working but have a collegiate dynamic. This recognition is offered by both the medical and nursing leaders.

Optimism: I asked them what they think research nursing will look like in 20 years time.  Here is what they had to say.

“As time goes on, I’d like to think that research will become part of everyday clinical practice, with research nurses as part of the team. This will help define the research nurse role in a clinical setting, as well as aid the transition  of integrating research findings into practice.” Imogen

“They will be seen as specialists. They will be prescribing. They will be advanced nurses running and implementing trials.” Geoffrey

“If you are an excellent nurse, then we need you in research, think about giving it a try once you have found the speciality that you love. “ Jason

Sooooo if you are looking for a new challenge, the Barts team are growing and looking for nurses to join their team. I, for one, can highly recommend them.  I think they are a team that will continue to do great things. When I asked one of the nurses what he would say to someone who is considering research nursing he said, “You will never ever know if you never ever go.” (Certain Ozzies may recognise this jingle-and I may have to tweet it.)

So what do you say…ready to give it a try?

If you would like to contact the Barts team, I am sure Jason, their Lead Research Nurse would be delighted to hear from you jason.pott@bartshealth.nhs.uk

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