Why research matters

Why research matters

As a teaching hospital, research into new treatments, drugs and therapies is at the heart of what we do. 

The treatments and medicines we use today would not have been develped without clinical research. Researchers in Nottingham have been a major part of increasing our knowledge and understanding of diseases.

Read what some of the people who work in research at NUH today think about the contribution of research to the NHS.

Georgia Melia, Major Trauma Clinical Research Practitioner

Georgia was responsible for the overall delivery and recruitment to the ROWTATE study in Major Trauma. ROWTATE is research return-to-work programme specially designed for people with a wide range of injuries.

Georgia was the highest individual recruiter to the study nationally and 156 of the 710 patients involved in the study were recruited at Nottingham. She met recruitment targets throughout the duration of the recruitment period and exceeded the overall target set for Nottingham. Whilst delivering a number of other studies within the major trauma portfolio and undertaking an academic fellowship she ensured ROWTATE is offered to every patient eligible. The study now moves to the next phase and recruited patients will be followed up by Georgia to collect the vital outcome data.


Lynda Elliott, Play Specialist, Children's CRF

Lynda Elliott is a qualified play specialist with 14 years of experience.

Her role involves supporting children and young people in the Clinical Research Facility to understand the processes and procedures needed to be carried out, offers alternative ways to manage them and emotional support to those visiting for an extended period of time.

Lynda says her role “In practice this can be as simple as listening to the child and understanding their perspective of what is happening and letting them lead to discover what they need. For some, using role play resources can help explore their thoughts, feeling and fears, or others, using the actual equipment is vital and empowering.”

As an example she explains how she previously helped a child cannulate a glove filled with red paint and water, giving the child the opportunity to be in control and understand the process of taking blood and giving medication. On another occasion, she had offered a young person different stress balls to cope with injections when she noticed he would bite his own hand to cope. After using her suggestion of the stress ball he said it didn’t hurt as much as other times.

Lynda says: “It is important to me that the children and young people feel valued, safe, listened too and comfortable when they are visiting the research facility and through providing appropriate play and activities, both therapeutic and general, while they are here, is a big part of that.”

Dr Ouliana Pangioti - Senior CRF Clinical Research Physician

Ouliana worked for many years as a paediatrician in Greece and Albania, and in the last five years at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust as as research fellow and then senior clinical research physician. She provides medical expertise for complex and and early phase clinical research trials in both children and adults.

You can hear more from Ouliana and her role here.

Meily Cheung, Research Volunteer

Meily is an experienced volunteer with many of her years in social science, most recently as a volunteer at the mobile research unit. She attended training and was provided with information needed about her role.

Her responsibilities involved inviting ‘research participants to fill out the Patient Research Experience Survey (PRES). Apart from this, we also help the research staff to welcome research participants, deliver information and address enquiries.’

Meily expressed that being a research volunteer has broadened her understanding about clinical research. She says ‘although I am not involved in giving treatment or taking records or data, I know more about the process and nature of clinical research by observing the work of research teams. The staff I have worked with are very kind and are very willing to address my questions.

‘Like the social science research projects that I have done in the past, doing clinical research is never easy. Some tasks may be trivial or even boring, but they are crucial in the research process.’

All in all Meily is appreciative of the work research volunteers do and recognises that research participants are the key to the success of research.

Dr Marie Quinlan - Senior CRF Clinical Research Physician

Dr Quinlan has a PhD degree in molecular Oncology and a Medical degree (MBChB), as well as Postdoctoral research experience. She bridges the gap between the clinic and research by applying her research know-how and medical understanding for the benefit of patients.

To find out more about Dr Marie Quinlan click here.

Sian Calvert, NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre Hearing Theme

Sian is a Research Fellow and Coordinator of the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership (JLA PSP) for Co-existing Dementia and Hearing Conditions. This is the first JLA PSP to bring together two different conditions and is funded by RNID, Alzheimer’s Research UK, and the NIHR Nottingham BRC.

Establishing a steering group for PSP with living with dementia and hearing conditions, their supporters/carers, and clinicians, she ensured that the steering group members with lived experience included representatives from under-served groups such as ethnic minority groups and the LGBTQ+ community.

Sian made adaptations to the traditional JLA PSP process so that it is accessible to people with lived experience; this enables them to be on an equal footing with the clinicians involved in the PSP. She has also had a vital role in creating materials to enhance the accessibility of the PSP (e.g. animated videos, sign language videos). She has shared her inclusive practices with the JLA and fellow researchers through conferences, meetings, articles, and blogs.

Lindsay Crate - Operations Manager

Lindsay is an experienced paediatric nurse by background and has worked with the Children's Research Team at nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust as well as with other clinical teams to develop and delivery research studies across the hospitals.

Catherine Carlton, Research Nurse

Catherine Carlton is a Research Nurse in the division of Medicine and Family Health, based in the NIHR Nottingham Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at NUH. Her role is to support the setup and delivery of clinical trials including the recent Menigitis B vaccine trial in Nottingham sixth form schools, in conjunction with the University of Nottingham and the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Explaining how she came to take on the role of research nurse, Catherine said it was her curiosity and the opportunity to combine all of her experience in different areas into one role.

Discussing why she enjoys the role, Catherine said “What I’ve learned through the years is that there is always a patient at the end of it, somebody who is going to benefit in the long-term. We don’t always get to see the long-term ourselves and as a nurse you want instant feedback but in this job you don’t always get that.”

Catherine first qualified as a nurse in 1992 after training with the NHS. Describing her earliest memory of working in the NHS she went back to a challenging moment early on in her training, saying “I was on a ward placement as a first-year student nurse and looking after someone who was dying during my night shift. Aged 19 at the time, it was a very ‘grown up’ thing to do and I remember thinking that that if you can deal with this then you can deal with lots of things. It’s my earliest memory but it isn’t a negative one”.

When asked why she first chose to be a nurse in the NHS, Catherine replied “There’s just so much choice in the NHS and no ceiling to what you can or can’t do. You can stay in an area if you enjoy it and you’re comfortable, but it also allows you to go into something more challenging if you want to. There are no boundaries. We’ll always be up against it, but I think the country would be lost without it.”

Professor Ian Hall, Director of NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre

Image of Professor Ian Hall in grey suit with white tie. Stood in front of green plants. Professor Ian Hall has been working in the NHS for over 36 years, and was awarded a fellowship from the Academy of Medical Sciences, for his outstanding contributions to biomedical and health sciences.

Ian is a Consultant in Respiratory Medicine and Director of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) a centre of excellence based at NUH. He is also Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

Discussing his earliest memory of working in the NHS, Ian went back to his time in Oxford as a junior doctor: “The environment was completely different. We worked very long hours (before the EU Working Time Directive introduced shift-working), as part of a clearly defined team, and we worked effectively because of that team. But we worked ridiculous hours; my second job was every other weekend. My first job at NUH was in 1986 as a registrar.”

Ian’s reasons for working in the NHS are his belief in free healthcare: “The NHS, despite its faults, remains the benchmark for a healthcare system which is free at the point of access, and accessible to all.  These are fundamentally important features”.

Describing what he enjoys most about his work, he says: “medicine is an extremely rewarding and worthwhile profession.  The opportunity to contribute through research is also very important to me. It would be naïve to assume everything we do produces research that directly affects clinical care but, undoubtedly sometimes it does. It also contributes to the UK economy through collaborations with industry. I am very fortunate because very few roles have the degree of variety that I have in my job.”

The Nottingham BRC is a collaboration between the University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, improving the health of millions of people with diseases like asthma and arthritis.

Professor Stephen Ryder, Clinical Director of Research and Innovation

Professor Stephen Ryder has been working in the NHS since 1985 and is currently Clinical Director of Research & Innovation at NUH, Professor of Medicine at the University of Nottingham and Consultant Hepatologist.

As Clinical Director of Research & Innovation, Stephen is passionate about research, ensuring all patients and staff across NUH have the opportunity to take in research at the Trust. On why he enjoys his role Stephen says “research is by definition improving care.  The whole aim is to make things better and to get better outcomes for the patients we treat. It is a huge privilege to see the way that new treatments and new ways of working change people’s lives for the better.”

Discussing why he chose to work in the NHS, Stephen explained “I absolutely believe that the NHS is the best healthcare system in the world and that makes it a wonderful place to work. It has staff who are highly motivated with altruistic views which means you have the best colleagues to work with and can be part of such strong teams.”

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