As part of a celebration of the incredible nurses within our WCMR team at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust and Newcastle University, we would like to share an interview with Research Nurse Isabel Barrow on International Nurses Day 2022.
How long have you been in nursing?
I qualified as a nurse over 20 years ago and spent a large part of my nursing career within critical care. I moved to research nursing in 2019 and joined the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) team just over a year ago in May 2021.
Can you tell us about your role within the WCMR?
I am the research nurse within the WCMR team and my role is to facilitate studies and support the patients, clinical team and researchers throughout the research process. As a multidisciplinary team, we always put patients at the centre of everything we do and this means I am always busy! My job can vary day to day depending on what research studies need support and this often requires liaising with many people, including patients and their families about any research studies that may be relevant to them.
Have there been any challenges over the last year?
I joined the WCMR team during a very challenging time due to the COVID pandemic. As a clinical team, we saw many of our colleagues redeployed to support the NHS effort against COVID whilst also trying to support our patient community who were deemed extremely clinically vulnerable and were understandably very anxious. I am very proud to be part of a team who are dedicated to supporting and caring for those affected by mitochondrial disease and see the difference this makes to our patients from across the UK.
What do you enjoy most about your role as a research nurse?
I enjoy getting to meet the patients and their families when I chat with them about research studies and clinical trials that are taking place within the WCMR. This was not possible during COVID as many of the studies were suspended and patients were not coming into clinic, so it is lovely that I am able to do this again. Within the Highly Specialised Service for Rare Mitochondrial Disorders clinic in Newcastle, we care for over 1,000 patients from right across the UK and the team have got to know many of them very well over the years. I am enjoying getting to know the patients and their families in clinic now too and find it very rewarding that I am able to help them get involved in studies that could help transform the lives of those living with mitochondrial disease and dysfunction.
The WCMR team would like to take this opportunity to thank all the NHS nursing staff for everything they do and for going above and beyond to deliver care to patients every single day.