insight – Clinical Research Nurse Symposium #cbrsymp16


I had the pleasure of attending the first Clinical Research Nurse Symposium organsied by the Cambridge BioResource. 

It was a great opportunity to hear what are the important issues for research nurses, and to get an insight into the amazing work they do.

I’m made a story of the tweets from the event (other people’s tweets will have much more insight than mine, I know), but here’s a few take-homes that have stuck in my mind.

personalisation of medicine

It’s an amazing thing to realise that Cambridge patients have given researchers the data to prove that there are not 4 different types of breast cancer, but 10 owing to genomic distinctions. One size/shape of treatment does not fit all. This personalisation of treatment is an amzaing breakthrough. But unless you personalise the treatment through taking time with the patient who’s just received the diagnosis, who’s about to undergo the treatment, and whose family members have perhaps died from what they see as the same disease, you’re not really caring as well as you could. Unless you personalise the opportunity for healthy volunteers to contribute to the research you’re not going to have a massive dataset to work with.

It’s often the research nurses who take the time to connect with the patients and volunteers.

(ps it took me so long to “get” this image – d’oh!)

enjoy them while you’ve got them

Nurses will be in very short supply in the coming years – 12% intake in the coming year but 20% loss as experienced nurses retire or leave the profession.

How can we ensure that all nurses are engaged in research, so that every nurse is a research nurse, with the potential for every patient (every citizen) as a research participant?

help them/us understand

Research literacy of patients and volunteers is really important for recruitment and retention – there’s lots of expert patients (particularly in Cambridge!), so why not lots of research expertise? Better understanding will help engagement and retention of research recruits. This starts with the quality of patient information which is designed by research groups, and is used to ensure informed consent, but can stretch beyond that too.

translation and communication of results

Do the patients involved in the research the courtesy of presenting the results of the research that their cells/bodies/minds have contributed to, in a way that they can understand. I don’t mean dumbing it down (see above) but in a way that is meaningful to them. Do this and  you might get them to engage in research in the future.

are you a linchpin


Linchpins make the work happen, efficiently and safely. Who are the linchpins in your organisation? (psst – it might be you!) How can they be rewarded? Can you learn how to become one?

It’s taken me so long to write up my thoughts after this conference – but the jist of it was done in 20 minutes over coffee just after I’d left building.

It was great to get an insight into the world of research nurses – impressed, doesn’t even begin to cover it!



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