Research Nurse attracts major funding to boost innovation in patient care

Photo: Research Nurse, Angie Foulds

Published: 20 May 2020

A research nurse working for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded regional funding to support her work.

Angie Foulds has been successful in her application for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding of £20,000 to fund one study day during her working week for two years.

The funding has been made through the NIHR Network South West Clinical Research Associate Scheme and enables her to complete her MSc dissertation in Advanced Nursing Practice, gain experience as a research principal investigator on NIHR studies and develop an as yet untitled PhD proposal.

Angie, who is married to a teacher and has two daughters, started her career in 1998 as a maternity healthcare assistant at Torbay hospital in a team who encouraged her to apply for a nursing degree at University of Plymouth and where she graduated as a registered nurse in 2016.

Her first registered nurse post was on the coronary care unit and cardiac catheterisation (heart diagnosis procedures) suite at Torbay hospital: “I absolutely adored my time working within the acute cardiology team. I wanted to learn more about this fascinating specialty so commenced an MSc through the University of the West of England (UWE). I chose a flexible MSc which allowed me to pick modules which related to my patient group.

“I really enjoyed the research aspect of studying and knew this was an area I would like to explore further. I started working as an oncology research nurse at the beginning of 2019. This post gave me a fantastic foundation in research and enabled me to progress into a senior research nurse role.”

She now works with The Trust’s Horizon Centre (an innovation, education and research facility at Torbay Hospital) team, leading on observational and interventional studies in a variety of specialties such as anaesthetics, Intensive Care Unit, gastroenterology (study of digestive system disorders) and public health. Her MSc in Advanced Practice has equipped her with knowledge and skills within cardiology, acute care, oncology and research, which has helped her progress into a senior research nurse role and onto developing a research proposal for a PhD.

Angie added: “I love research and I love my job as a research nurse. I can’t wait to start my new chapter as a nurse researcher and develop my own research questions.”

She will be supported by two mentors: Kathryn Bamforth currently undertaking a PhD whilst working in our research and development (R&D) team and Susie Pearce the Trust’s Associate Professor of Nursing (Research) from the Clinical School based in the Horizon Centre.

Angie said: “Healthcare research is an amazing and exciting speciality to work in. Research is fundamental in improving care. Good quality research enables us to understand, diagnose and treat health conditions effectively. Research nurses are in a unique position where we liaise with many different departments and build fantastic relationships across the Trust and with our patients.”

Patients involved in clinical trials with licensed medicines as part of research studies enable many others to access treatments which would not normally be available, for example ground-breaking cancer treatments.

Angie was involved in the Fast-forward study which looked at a reduction in the dose, frequency and duration of radiotherapy for a particular group of early breast cancer patients. This study, published in the Lancet, showed reduced radiotherapy was not inferior to standard care and is likely to influence local and national policy. She said: “Future patients will benefit from lower dose of radiotherapy and its side effects and fewer hospital attendances. This demonstrates the hidden far reaching impact research can have on our patients, our Trust and the NHS as a whole.”

Chris Dixon, Trust Lead Research Nurse, said: “I congratulate Angie on her award which enables us to fund her research. As part of this award scheme I hope to further develop the links between our clinical and academic work by supporting a secondment for a clinical nurse in research.”

She added that a combination of Angie’s post and a doctoral studentship awarded to Kathryn Bamforth by the Torbay Medical Research Fund, helps enable the Trust to develop home-grown researchers. The aim is for the researchers to work between clinical work and R&D to answer clinically important questions with studies. These NIHR adopted studies should bring new business into the Trust’s R&D department, making it more successful and able to secure more awards for staff.

If you are interested in finding out more about what research trials are currently taking place here and across the country, please go to the Be Part of Research website which has been updated with new content and information relating to COVID-19 research. This includes a helpful frequently asked questions about Covid-19 section.

The NIHR is the nation’s largest funder of health and care research funded by the DHSC in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public. The NIHR Clinical Research Network South West Peninsula increases opportunities for clinical research, part of the NHS – email crn.swp@nhs.net
Also see the website https://local.nihr.ac.uk


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