During 2020, we are celebrating the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It is 200 years since the birth of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale. Today we think of Florence as the first research nurse, as she innovatively used data and evidence to transform patient care.

Research nursing now spans all clinical specialties and research nurses are key to our research response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research nurses are contributing in a range of ways,  including being redeployed to frontline clinical duties, supporting the delivery of priority COVID-19 studies, and designing and leading studies themselves.

We talked to Clive Moore, the chair of the BRC’s Research Advisory Group to find out how research nurses support him and other patients taking part in clinical studies.

I have high blood pressure so I signed up to take part in a trial for a new medical device. However, once I’d gone through all of the paperwork, it turned out that my blood pressure was now too low for me take part in the study. Because I’d already signed up, I was keen to get involved where I could so I asked if there were other studies taking place.

The nurses asked me if I’d like to sign up the AIM HY study which is looking at personalising treatments for high blood pressure and I gladly agreed.

I went along to St Thomas’ Hospital once a month for around eight months to check my blood pressure, BMI and water content and I gave blood samples. On every other visit I also had a heart scan and was given a different combination of blood pressure tablets so that we could find the best combination for me.

By my second visit, the nurses knew me by sight and all used my first name which was wonderful. It was great being able to really talk to them and for them to have the time to listen.

The research nurses were the ultimate professionals and you can tell that they really enjoy what they do. It was a really positive experience for me and I’d gladly take part in research again.

As well as taking part in research itself, I also get involved in a lot of Patient and Public Involvement with research teams. I chair the Research Advisory Group and I am also a member of the South East London Consumer Research Panel for Cancer.

I really enjoy the opportunity to talk to the people carrying out the research and to get my voice heard.

For more information about Patient and Public Involvement, please contact our Patient and Public Involvement Lead, Jacintha McGahon.