YNM2020: A year as a Research and Innovation ‘highly commended’ member of staff – a blog by Womba Mubita, Research Nurse Manager

At the beginning of 2020, I was voted as one of the highly commended members of Research and Innovation (R&I) staff for the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020 (YNM2020), which was a great privilege. I have one of the smallest teams – Adult Diabetes Research – and I came to realise that my nomination was not only based on the number of votes, but on the content written by my team members.

Womba Mubita

Diabetes clinical trials has evolved over the years, with studies developing from being primarily drug trials, to focussing more on device studies involving insulin pumps and glucose monitoring sensors.

This requires diabetes experience and collaboration with the clinical team directly involved in the patient’s care, in order to ensure patient safety and effective running of the studies.

In their nomination submissions, my team praised my ability to empower clinical research nurses, and their comments also reflected that I am a professional, approachable leader and have created strong links between research and clinical practice.

I am very honoured to be part of a team who acknowledge and value my contribution to the department.

Later in the year, many of our studies had to be put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we had to keep all the device studies open due to their vital importance to our patients.

At the beginning of the pandemic I didn’t imagine how challenging amending studies to suit the coronavirus situation was going to be. Running device studies is complex as it is; but running them during a national lockdown was even more problematic.

We had to start training patients on how to collect their own blood samples at home and used platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to teach them how to use pumps and glucose monitoring sensors. The changes also involved logistical arrangements of shipping devices to and from patients’ homes using couriers and involved collaboration with the clinical team to see what was working for them so that we could adopt the same processes.

Further to finding new ways of running our own diabetes studies, we were additionally called upon to support COVID-19 studies.

Womba Mubita

Regular contact and effective communication with my team enabled me the to ensure that staff who were shielding and those who were based on site were all supported.

Year of the Nurse and Midwife has taken place during 2020 – which has not been an easy year for any healthcare professional – but I am very proud to say that through it all we have managed to look after our existing patients, while looking for new treatments to manage COVID-19.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate me as part of YNM2020 and for all the nice words. I would also like to thank R&I Clinical Research Delivery management team for choosing me and for all the support and mentorship. I couldn’t have been a good leader without your support and direction.