ADVANCES in medicine are often impressive.
But who helps them to happen? It is often a team of people who, with the help of volunteer patients, carry out studies.
In the Tees valley, research nurses June Battram and Nicky Bateman are two of them and they have just added to their credentials.
The pair have become the first research nurses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to successfully pass the Accredited Researcher Programme.
June and Nicky are experienced at working with patients who have respiratory problems.
June said: “Many people know someone, whether it’s a member of their family or a friend who has a respiratory condition. The clinical trials we run are all about developing treatments for respiratory illnesses such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
“Not everyone is suitable to take part in every research study, but there often some research they can take part in. Some research studies can take up to six months or more and others can be as simple as completing a quick questionnaire.
“Every part of research activity is as important as the next, no matter how small – it can make a big difference.”
Nicky continued: “Recruiting volunteers for studies into developing new drugs and therapies to help people to manage their illness is vital. It is a great example of how the local community can help to make a positive impact on the future advances in healthcare.
“Being involved in research can one day make a real difference to the people who suffer from these illnesses. Studies like ours rely on the goodwill of patients who give up their time, to help develop our understanding of respiratory and to explore new options for treatments.”
The Accredited Researcher Programme, which demonstrates knowledge of good clinical practice gained by formal training and experience, involves an on-line exam with a pass mark of 70 per cent.
All research nurses at the trust are required to have up to date good clinical practice in research training, but June and Nicky are the first to complete this new online accreditation.
June and Nicky, who have more than 25 years nursing experience between them caring for patients with respiratory conditions have both quite recently stepped into a clinical research role.
June said: “I’ve been working as a clinical research nurse with respiratory patients for one year now. By taking this exam we hold this accreditation for the next two years. It’s important to set the standards and this does just that.
“It’s very satisfying caring for patients on the wards but I get a massive amount of job satisfaction from working in research too.
June added: “We find that patients are often keen to take part in clinical trials because they want to help other people suffering from the same conditions in the future. It’s really humbling to work with those people and we’re really grateful to all of those who take part. ”