Claire Baldwin

Blog: Getting involved in research as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Advanced Clinical Practitioner Claire Baldwin works in Salford Care Organisation’s major trauma team and is an Associate Principal Investigator on the ACIT-II study. Here she blogs out why and how she got involved in research.

I became interested in becoming more actively involved in research after listening to Professor Dan Horner speak about current and upcoming research studies involving major trauma patients within the NCA. One of the studies was ACIT-II which is a study investigating the systemic inflammatory, coagulation and genomic responses in people following severe injury and bleeding after major trauma.

As I work in major trauma as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP) and have always loved physiology this ticked several of my “yes this interests me” boxes. After speaking to Dan and him pointing me in the direction of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) website, I spotted the Associate Principal Investigator scheme in which I’ve signed up for the ACIT-II study and set off on my research journey.

I’ve been a nurse for 24 years with most of that time spent in the Emergency Department. I undertook a Master’s in Advanced Practice and then moved to the Major Trauma team work, where I work as part of a great multi-disciplinary team as an ACP.

Care of our patients starts prehospital, to ED, acute areas and then to the rehabilitation phase of their care either as an inpatient or discharge to the community. We have a responsibility to them and their loved ones to ensure that the care we provide is evidence based and to a high quality. As we are the major trauma receiving centre for Greater Manchester, we should be actively engaged in contributing and leading on this field of research.

Exciting opportunities

What I’ve found is the research process takes time. As someone who is used to fast paced work/ quick results this has taken some adjustment. However, as I knew very little about what the research process entails, I’ve had time to find out more about research. This has involved me undertaking online modules, meeting the research team at the Trust (who have been invaluable with their knowledge and support), attending conferences, networking with others at NIHR learning events, speaking to research active clinicians, participating in online webinars. It seems that sticking your hand up to say that you are interested in becoming involved in research leads to more exciting learning opportunities.

Research champion

Going forward I’m actively involved in research major trauma studies at the trust. I’m talking about research to anyone that will listen, which includes my colleagues. We now have a research champion on the Major Trauma coordinator team and on the Trauma Assessment Unit to disseminate information to others and encourage recruitment of patients to open studies.

I’ve been invited to participate in an international priority setting workshop to determine the top 10 research questions to be answered for major trauma which influences how funding is allocated.

I would encourage who is interested in becoming more involved in research to consider the Associate PI Scheme. Especially in times of limited funding opportunities for education it is free and has plenty of online learning which you can access when it suits you.

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