60 seconds with Nicolene Plaatjies | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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60 seconds with Nicolene Plaatjies

Professional Role: Senior Paediatric Research Nurse; Paediatric Champion NIHR CRN North Thames

Study Title: A qualitative study of minority ethnic views on Paediatric research: Potential impact on recruitment.

University: City University London

Programme: MRes in clinical research

Funder: National Institute of Health Research

What drew you to research?

I needed a change as I was working in my previous department for 10 years. One of the consultants asked me if I was interested in research as there was a vacancy for a research nurse. I was reading about it and got interested so applied for the post. This was a new role and I developed new skills and increased my knowledge about research.

There are so many children with chronic conditions where no current treatment is working.  The fact that I could be part of the process of introducing new treatment that changed some patients lives, gave me great job satisfaction.

This good experience leads to me becoming the Paediatric Champion for children’s research and at present I’m supporting 24 NHS Trusts in our network in delivering NIHR children portfolio studies.

What impact do you hope your research will have?

Children and people with minority ethnicity are under-represented in health research (Fisher et al, 2011; Bhopal R, 2014).

The key important findings in my study were: time constraints (for example time off work, school, traveling, other commitments); influences of family and people outside family; religious beliefs; experiences of clinical care and invitations to research; trust in researchers; perceived direct impact and benefits – physical, incentives; study design for example placebo control studies.

The key issues identified were addressed in previous studies. Some of these issues can be addressed by the Children’s Clinical Research Team to alter their current practice to accommodate minority ethnic people in order to improve recruitment in clinical research.

Changed in practice:

  1. We started doing home visits for some studies and that increased our recruitment the last year.
  2. We started asking sponsors to provide inconvenience fees for parents who need to take time out of work to bring their children to hospital.

What advice would you give to someone considering undertaking this programme?

It is important to have an idea or question that interested you. Something you experience in your department or at work that you would like an answer for. You need to be committed to your project and you need the time for it. Research is good for the patients. It makes a difference. It is good to be part of the research process to give patients the best care and treatment. Always keep the patients as the focus of everything you do.

What are your future plans?

The limitations of this study include the sample size. Important considerations for future research would include seeking the views of children, their parents, as well as researchers to get a more complete spectrum of viewpoints and experiences.

I would like to do a follow up study where I involve other hospitals over the country to compare the different viewpoints.


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