Friday 4 February marks World Cancer Day, an annual event to bring communities together to raise awareness and take action against cancer.  

This year we wanted to shine a light on the invaluable research that is conducted throughout the world, dedicated to finding a cure to more than 100 variations of cancer. Here at Yeovil Hospital we have a team of oncology research nurses that work incredibly hard with patients and teams across the hospital to provide vital information and data to research trials throughout the UK, all with the aim of a lasting cure for cancer.

Senior Oncology Research Nurse Kerry Rennie gives us a unique insight into her role.

 “Research trials are a way for healthcare providers to understand how to treat different illnesses and support evidence-based practice. It can benefit the patient taking part in the trial at the time, but also benefit many people in the future through finding new effective treatments for cancer. As an Oncology Research Nurse my role is to help facilitate both national and international clinical trials within the Trust and help new treatments become active sooner. Research nurses are the key connection between researchers, clinicians and patients.”

“There is sometimes the perception that my role is largely sitting at a desk filling in paper work. Although this is a part of my job, it is a small aspect. A larger portion of my role is looking for suitable candidates to embark in a trial, which for some can be potentially life changing. Any patient that fits the particular criteria is given support from both myself and their clinician to make an informed decision, so they fully understand what their participation in the trial will mean to them. More often than not, the patient will give informed consent and I will begin coordinating a trial treatment pathway. Patients are free to withdraw from a clinical trial at any time and are supported throughout.

“Throughout each trial, I become my patient’s confidante, a reassuring and supportive hand to both their emotional and physical needs, as well as providing support to their families. Being a part of a trial can be extremely rewarding but it can also be challenging and it is incredibly important that the patient feels they are getting all the help, encouragement and information they need.”

“Once a trial is running I beginning collecting data to be sent to the research institution, which could be either national or international institutions. Data can be anything from having a conversation about how the patients are feeling, if they are experiencing any issues or side effects, to collecting the results from investigations such as blood tests, scans or tissue samples and evaluating the efficacy of the treatments. Each variation of data is so important and provides invaluable findings that all go back to helping improve treatments at the research centre. Throughout the trial, participants’ safety is continually monitored and strict governance of clinical research activity is assured through the requirement of ‘Good Clinical Practice’. This is an internationally recognised requirement for the conduct of clinical research

“I love my job! I enjoy getting to meet new people daily who are excited to be getting the chance to be involved in creating a better tomorrow for so many other people, especially as we move forward with growing the cancer research trial portfolio for our oncology service, now based at St Margaret’s hospice in Yeovil. Partaking in research is a trust-wide effort, one that I am incredibly proud to be a part of. We are extremely lucky that the research team here at Yeovil Hospital is quite renowned, despite our small size, and gets many opportunities to participate in a variety of important trials to help improve treatment and recovery outcomes for conditions worldwide.”

If you would like to find out more about a career as a research nurse click here, or if you would like to know more about research currently being undertaken at Yeovil Hospital click here.


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This post was written by Communications Team

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