Published: 01 May 2020
Research Nurse Manager Carol Beane was considering retiring this summer. She is now leading the research delivery team at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital North West in response to COVID-19. Across England many research studies have been paused because of the coronavirus pandemic to allow staff to prioritise frontline care and urgent public health research studies. Part of the COVID-19 Research Voices series.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a hugger so I am struggling with being unable to hug my colleagues. I also have a hearing impairment so holding conversations at a social distance with staff whose mouths are hidden behind masks is proving a challenge that I am adjusting to quickly.
We’ve all had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic; in so many ways our worlds have turned upside down.
For many of us it has meant working in unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings or in clinical areas outside of our usual practice.
In recent weeks I have worked with other senior research staff within my host Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), looking at where members of my team could be redeployed to support the NHS response to COVID-19.
All my core delivery team are now in their new working environments, running and supporting COVID-19 research studies. Just one has been deployed clinically to support critical care; I am keeping in touch with all my team no matter where they are working to ensure everyone feels supported.
Our day to day routines have changed significantly. Prior to COVID-19 we were an agile delivery team, supporting research across Greater Manchester. We now actually see each other more than we used to; most of us are working together with the same teams and we now have a weekly team hang out so that we can see each other, escalate concerns, catch up on news and I can keep everyone up to date. I will continue with this when we return to normal.
I have now been tasked with leading the research delivery at The NHS Nightingale Hospital North West.
I am excited about this opportunity. Two of my team lead research nurses will join me in providing the research care for research participants at the Hospital. We all received a tour and induction to the Hospital which had only been open for a week. Looking for space to work, we established that laptops will be needed to access systems, follow patients and also complete research study paperwork.
It’s early days yet, and we are looking at research studies as they come along, developing relationships with staff and raising the research profile and its importance is a priority whilst preparing for patient numbers to gradually increase. There are new systems to familiarise with as well as adapting to working in PPE. I have also been joining in the national research network virtual meetings to share our Nightingale experiences and learn from others.
Every day I am proud to be involved in the research response looking for answers to COVID-19, ensuring North West residents have the opportunity to take part in research. I see what an amazing, crucial part all nurses and midwives are playing in response to this pandemic
I want to hug each of my colleagues but know I can’t. That time will come.
Furthermore, I am proud of how we have all pulled together to support each other as a network, whatever our role. The virtual meetings, online quiz nights and other opportunities to engage with each other safely, means that we can all see each other, have a laugh and keep strong.
I want to hug each of my colleagues but know I can’t. That time will come, but for now I know that I am making a difference and together we are doing all we can for our patients. I have never felt prouder to call myself a nurse.
Carol Beane is Research Nurse and delivery team Manager at Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester. In a career spanning 36 years she was both an adult and a paediatric nurse specialising in general surgery, neurosurgery and paediatric oncology before becoming a research nurse.
Read more about how the NIHR is involved in the response to tackle COVID-19.