International Nurses Day 2024

On International Nurses Day (IND), Senior Clinical Research Nurses; Helen T-Michael and Efstratios Athanasakis at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), share their passion for research and innovation and their pride in its transformational role in everyday healthcare practice.

Helen T-Michael, North Manchester General Hospital (NMGH)

Helen T-Michael, Senior Clinical Research Nurse

As a Senior Clinical Research Nurse and the lead for critical care, emergency and anaesthesia research studies at NMGH, I am the main point of contact for study principal investigators, sponsors, and patients.

I have been lucky to be involved in several critical care, emergency and breast cancer trials where medications and procedures have gone on to become routine care for patients.

I first joined MFT in 2019 and my passion for research began in 2017 when I started my doctoral degree.

A career in research offers the opportunity to use core skills, contributing to the development of new evidence and improving patient care. As a clinical research nurse you work within a wider team as well as autonomously within Good Clinical Practice guidelines. Research is challenging but at the same time rewarding, and it is about making a difference in a different way.

Everything we do as nurses is fundamentally supported by research. I believe, every student nurse should have a research placement at some point in their training, to understand how research and innovation transforms and supports their everyday practice.

Not only does research help to identify new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and conditions but it can also help to identify how hospitalisation affects patients’ physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. I am leading the critical care study, iRehab, which will assess if, following treatment in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a rehabilitation programme can help people recover more quickly once home from hospital, I am delighted to lead on such an important study, in identifying, recruiting, and supporting eligible patients.

Helen (right) with members of the Research in Emergency care Anaesthesia Critical care Cancer and Core Trials Team

Today we reflect on what is fundamentally important in nursing practice and our daily achievements. IND creates an avenue for nurses from different parts of the world to unite and celebrate the contribution that we nurses make to society.

Efstratios Athanasakis, Wythenshawe Hospital

Efstratios Athanasakis, Senior Clinical Research Nurse

I am part of the RE-EMERGING Hub based at Wythenshawe Hospital, working mainly on studies for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Respiratory Medicine Theme, leading on a number of these studies since 2021.

I have been a nurse for more than 13 years, initially training in Greece, where I am from, which is where my passion for research began. I moved to England in 2014 to study for my Master’s degree in ‘Research Methods in Health’ to further my research nursing career, joining MFT in 2016.

Over the last 10 years I have developed my research interest in medication safety in nursing and led my own research in this area. I am passionate about promoting the visibility of clinical trials and educating clinical colleagues on the clinical research we are delivering.

Patient care is at the heart of nursing, and I would encourage nursing colleagues to consider a path in research. As clinical research nurses, we contribute to the evaluation of current practices and treatment pathways, shape the evidence-based care landscape, broaden our knowledge on health sciences, introduce innovations, and help shape the future of patient care.

I am proud to support the Manchester Respiratory, Allergy and Thoracic Surgery Biobank (ManARTS) study by recruiting patients with severe lung conditions to donate biological samples such as blood and saliva. The tissue samples and data collected from participants will help to facilitate research of the highest quality into lung and allergic diseases, to benefit patients.

Efstratios (centre) with members of the RE-EMERGING team

On IND, we celebrate all nurses for making a difference in patients’ lives and celebrate all career pathways available for nurses including research and the clinical academic pathway. Today is a call for all nurses to reflect on our experiences and celebrate our achievements and I am proud as a nurse, to be part of the Research and Innovation team at Wythenshawe Hospital.