It’s almost 10pm and I’m getting ready for bed as I have an early start tomorrow morning, alarm set for 5am for a 7 o’clock start in the EMeRGE office. Just as I’m getting into bed I get a text message from our Research Fellow informing me of a potential patient for our new Heart Failure study. Immediately I waken up and begin to plan our next move. We have 16hours from admission to recruitment and randomisation.
Bright eyed I arrive in the office the following morning and get straight to work. I pull out our Relax 2 screening folder and with a fine tooth comb, check and re-check the inclusion and exclusion criteria. This particular study has been running for just over 2 months and we’ve yet to recruit so I’m being extra vigilant. I head down to the Medical Admissions Unit where I identity the Consultant and have a quick chat about eligibility, good news!!! This patient could be the first to be recruited in Edinburgh.
My duty is to provide all information regarding the trial to a patient in an unbiased, understandable and appropriate way. Patients should never feel pressured to recruit onto a study, or feel that they have no choice in the decision. As Research Nurses we provide information and answer any questions which may arise and support patients in their decisions.
The EMeRGE Research Fellow and I gather our essential paperwork and approach our potential patient, who presented last night with acute heart failure. Relax 2 is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled phase IIIb study and comes with a 12 page patient information document. After a lengthy discussion patient number 001 gives consent for the first part of the trial! We take an additional blood sample and analyse it to determine whether or not our patient is suitable for the study. They are! Now we have to randomise patient number 001 and make up the drug or placebo. We contact our bed manager to organise a bed in the Coronary Care Unit so our CCU Research colleagues can take over the inpatient care. I stay with patient 001, religiously checking observations and documenting everything meticulously until the ward is ready, I then transfer them to CCU, where they’ll stay whilst receiving the study drug.
Meanwhile back at the office we arrange follow-up appointments at various intervals and commence the mountain of paperwork involved in such an important study. It’s home time for me, my colleagues take over the care of patient 001, I’ll catch up with them in the morning.
Without research, no advances or improvements can be made to existing care. Although it is a long process, it is so very worthwhile when it has a positive impact on the lives of thousands of patients.