Written by Tami Rose
2nd Year Student Nurse, Glasgow Caledonian University
Oh no… I’m here for 10 weeks!
When I got my University email through and saw the word “research”, I thought ‘oh no… I’m here for 10 weeks! Reading journals for 10 weeks straight, this can’t be much fun.’
I was wrong. The past 10 weeks in the Glasgow Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital truly has been a lifetime experience I will never forget. As cliched as it sounds, being part of the vaccine trial team will be historic one day, and I am proud to say I was a part of it.
A Typical Day on a Vaccine Trial
A typical day for myself as a 2nd year student nurse was always different.
Initially I sat in with the nurses and doctors, observing participant informed consent and trial visits to get familiar with all the different protocols and paperwork. Other days I would be organising the swabbing kits for the participants.
One of my favourite kind of days was definitely in the Lab spinning the bloods. I had to wear a mask, gloves, a long disposable lab coat and a visor. I felt like a scientist. This Lab opportunity is not something I’ll get offered in other placements, so I treasured every moment
Getting to Know the Patients
My other favourite day was helping in the observation area. This was a post vaccination area for participants to sit in after having what may have been the vaccine. My job was to greet the patients and get a handover from the nurse. I loved getting to know each participant; In 15 minutes, I learnt all about them and why they felt it was important to take part in this clinical trial. I always made a point of thanking the individual and acknowledging the fact that without them we wouldn’t be a step closer to normality.
I was also involved in monitoring the participants’ vital signs and explaining to them what they may feel in the next few hours. This was important as this vaccine is new to everyone.
Whilst chatting to the participants they all had different views on the vaccine and different reasons as to why they wanted it. For some, they had lost a loved one to this deadly virus. For others, they wanted to help a situation that is out of our control, this was something they could do to make a difference.
New Skills at the CRF
I learnt skills that I will be able to transfer into the ward setting such as if a patient were to go into anaphylaxis shock. The arrest trolley was set up and ready for this to happen. When I was there, thankfully there was no need to use it, however I am prepared for this to happen in the ward. I am now familiar with the medications and why they would be used in this emergency.
I successfully managed to get all my skills signed off as part of the 2nd year competencies. Not only that I also achieved an A!
Overall I loved my time on placement at Glasgow CRF, the staff were phenomenal. They made me feel safe in what was a scary environment. I look forward to a fellow student getting a placement here. I’ll be very jealous but most importantly I will make them feel at ease and no doubt they will love it as much as me.