I started writing this yesterday hence the beginning part is my preparation for today!!!
Tomorrow I am really fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to speak at the NHS Lothian Nurses and Midwives Research Open Day in conjunction with Edinburgh University and Queen Margaret University. Unlike the last NHS Research event I spoke at I am excited about this one. Last time I was full of nerves as this was the first time my professional life as a nurse was crossing with my patient voice which I was unsure of and how it would be. I was wrong to be nervous as it was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed it. So I am looking forward to this one even more. It would be great to have more time to speak but I am hoping that we intrigue enough of those attending that they come over and speak to us and find out more.
Thinking about what I am going to say is really hard because there is not much time and Patient and Public Involvement is an area I now love and any opportunity I have to get involved in research I take it up. I cant believe that just 7 years ago I failed my essay for Research Methods when doing my Nursing degree. I was furious and did not think I should have failed in. In fact I resubmitted the exact same essay with no changes whatsoever and passed. Had the same person who marked my resubmitted essay marked my first submission then I would not have had a fail. It was a huge risk but I knew that I didnt deserve a fail and knew I would still be in line for a distinction even with resubmitting it. It was a huge gamble and a huge risk and I may have been arrogant or full of myself but I knew it didnt deserve a fail.
So now I am a qualified nurse. I am not a research nurse but a nurse who loves research and the best part for me is being involved in so many different research ideas, projects rather than doing one main project and only focusing on it.
I had a fantastic day today listening to everyone’s stories about how their careers evolved and they came to be a research nurse. There were so many different stories about how they became involved in research and the route they took. The passion everyone spoke with about the various specialities they were in was great to see. I don’t think there is any area where there is no research taking place. Every area is covered and in Scotland particularly Edinburgh we are benefited by having Clinical Research Facilities in adult, children and mental health rather than one umbrella centre.
It was also fantastic to hear about how many have used patients and public involvement. Not all of them but its a start that even some of them have been doing PPI as a lot of researchers do tend to shun it if they can or even worse they use it because it is a tick box exercise.
It is so rewarding talking at these events with Allison. I have done quite a few now and think I am getting more confident in what I am speaking about and don’t think I go quite as red as I used to! I think for me the best thing is being able to share what I have been able to do in research and help researchers understand what it is like to live with conditions and have so little control of my life due to medications, and triggers coming at me when I don’t expect it.
My highlight from the day though was hearing one of the critical care research nurses say that to her doing research was making a positive out of a negative situation and trying to better the lives of patients. For me I use this statement a lot. I love doing PPI and as I have said a lot in this blog that PPI and research has really turned a negative situation into a positive one and continues to do so. I love being involved and there hasn’t been anything I don’t like doing. I hope when I speak that I portray how passionate I am about patient and public involvement and how important it is to getting the best research done and research which is really going to benefit the patients the research is targeted for. If I could do PPI full time I think I would however I love nursing so for now I will stick with nursing!