YNM2020: A year as a ‘highly commended’ member of Research and Innovation staff – a blog by Jesha Matthews, Senior Clinical Research Nurse

I am a Senior Clinical Research Nurse, based within the Cardiovascular Research Hub at Wythenshawe Hospital, which conducts research in areas including cardiology, transplant, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and vascular (conditions relating to all blood vessels, other than those in the heart).

Jesha Matthews

I was nominated as a ‘highly commended’ member of Research and Innovation (R&I) staff for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 by my manager, and I honestly felt very surprised and overjoyed, as I was not expecting it at all.

I was very happy that my efforts had been recognised, and this motivated me to continue doing my best at work.

I was nominated for the award because I was able to recruit a high number of patients with peripheral vascular/arterial disease to the endovascular (a minimally invasive surgery within the blood vessels) studies at Wythenshawe Hospital in 2019.

As a result, the Wythenshawe Hospital Vascular Department became one of the highest recruiting centres in the country.

This was all due to the wholehearted support of my manager, effective communication with other departments and maintaining excellent relationships with both participants and multi-disciplinary team colleagues.

2020 turned out to be an unpleasant surprise for everyone in the world due to COVID-19, but I am proud to say that I was able to work in the MFT COVID-19 Research Team during this major crisis.

One of the positive things that I want to highlight about the pandemic is that it brought everyone even closer together and strengthened the bond between different team members; enabling us to pull together effectively.

It was challenging at the start – as treatment methods were rapidly being assessed to determine which were the most effective in treating COVID-19 patients – but this further underlined the vital importance research plays in finding new treatment pathways. 

Supporting each other – through sharing good ideas and best practice – is really what makes work most enjoyable, and even though there were obstacles in the way, I enjoyed working throughout 2020.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, it was crucial that we continued delivering our high-priority studies. During the first wave, follow-up appointments with our study participants were supported by my colleagues, so I was able to fully concentrate on supporting COVID-19 studies.

However, during the second wave, I had to find ways to support both cardiovascular and COVID-19 studies, which was extremely tough at first! I am proud to say that I was able to successfully find this balance and work in new ways, such as carrying out follow-up appointments via virtual methods.

During this period, I was also able to contribute and support my community colleagues in recruiting to various Public Health England studies such as sKID, which more than 600 Greater Manchester school children and teachers are participating in, and is measuring the prevalence of COVID-19 in schools nationally. 

Supporting the delivery of COVID-19 studies has made me realise my own potential and increased my confidence. I would like to thank both my manager and the R&I Clinical Research Delivery management team for recognising my work and selecting me for this award.

We have all worked very hard this strange year and I would like to wish all my R&I colleagues a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.