Today, Wednesday 12 May, is an international celebration of nursing around the world – a particularly poignant moment following the most challenging year our nursing teams have seen, but also one of hope, optimism and strength.

For nurses across the world, caring and innovation go hand in hand, as people choose a career where they can truly make a difference for others. Today we take a moment to celebrate all our nurses at Yeovil Hospital and the many roles that they cover. Each member of our nursing team is vital in caring for patients, supporting families, and taking us into future.

Yeovil Hospital’s Chief Nurse Shelagh Meldrum said: “Celebrating Nurses’ Day is a moment for us to thank all the nurses who are caring for us and our loved ones throughout the year.

“This past 15 months has been incredibly difficult and the care that our nursing teams have provided, the resilience that they have shown, and the passion that I see day in day out has made me incredibly proud. I say this not only as Chief Nurse, but also as a mum with family members and friends who have received care – to all nurses, thank you for all you do!”

At Yeovil Hospital, we are extremely proud of all our staff and we are using the opportunity of Nurses’ Day to highlight one of our less well-known nursing roles – our Clinical Research Nurses. The work of our small research team is having a big impact in the world of healthcare.

Throughout the pandemic, the team has recruited more than 500 Yeovil Hospital staff members to the Public Health England Siren Study to help understand whether prior infection of COVID-19 creates antibodies that protect against future infection. The research nurses have also worked on a study with Oxford University focusing on those recovering from COVID-19, trialling different treatments that will shape how we manage patients with COVID-19 in the future.

Alongside this work on COVID-19, the team is currently running more than 100 studies including testing a device for those with heart conditions, a study of children undergoing emergency surgery on their abdomen and testing a new device in gynae surgery, with research also being undertaken in oncology, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, disorders of the eye, cardiovascular disease and many more.

Clinical Research Nurse Kerry Rennie has worked at Yeovil Hospital since 1990 when she started at a student nurse.

Kerry said: “I started on the wards but moved into Oncology research in 2003 and haven’t left. Clinical research is fascinating and the changes over the last 18 years have been amazing. We used to have a main focus as a department on cancer but now the trials are far more varied. I have stayed in the field of cancer research and in my role I get to follow patients through their cancer journey and beyond.

“I get a real sense that I’m making a long-term difference with the results we get influencing medical and surgical treatments in the future.

“My favourite example of this was around 2014 when we learned the difference we could make for women with breast cancer by giving them Herceptin. This has been truly life-saving and the clinical research nurses and oncology team at Yeovil Hospital played a part of that discovery.

“We work on national and international studies and have the opportunity to work with departments across the hospital as well as patients from all walks of life. No day is ever the same and I wouldn’t change my job for anything!”

To provide a flavour of what it is like to be a nurse working in Clinical Research, Di Woods filmed her day, offering a snapshot of life as a research nurse at Yeovil Hospital – click here to view.

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This post was written by Communications Team

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