A Week In The Life Of A Research Nurse

The below give just an idea of what an average week looks like for a Research Nurse. In this case we are looking at a week in the life of one of Illingworth’s full-time Research Nurses who covers London and the South East area.

Monday

It’s 9am and my working day has started. I have a Site Initiation Visit (SIV) this afternoon and so I do some reading of the study protocol in preparation. The study is oncology related; as the research nurse treating the patients, I have a huge protocol to come to grips with before the study starts recruiting patients. At 12:30 I leave for the underground for the hospital. The SIV starts at 1.30pm but I don’t want to take any chances and be late. Just as well because the train board displays delays on the train and next one is 10 minutes late. Arrive at the meeting venue and meet the CRAs in the reception area. The SIV progresses well, meeting the rest of the team and ironing out the recruitment pathway. I am taken on an orientation around the facility and I meet other staff I will come across whilst working at the hospital.

Tuesday

I have a home visit provisionally scheduled for today; but my patient may be going into hospital for treatment optimisation. I receive a text from the patient letting me know he will be in hospital for 5 days, so I cancel the appointment and immediately contact the research nurse at the hospital to confirm the team there will take the required blood sample within protocol specified window. Once that is done I set out to the other Hospital 15 minutes walk away, where I have a part-time contract to manage a study database. I have a weekly teleconference with my colleagues; the Research Team Manager and the other research nurses. During the teleconference I give an update on the previous day’s SIV and on my other projects and listen to updates from the other members of our team. Following that, I email my training requests for the new project and I spend the rest of the day working through medical notes and patient visit forms to update the database.

Wednesday

Early start for a home visit to collect a blood sample, car booked for 9.30am. As I’m driving down the A13 towards the M25, I see that the traffic on the opposite side of the road is not moving and a jam is forming, so I decide there and then to use a different route on my return otherwise I will be stuck in traffic unnecessarily. Arrive at patient’s home, ring head office to check in as per policy and then proceed to go and collect the blood. After finishing the visit I ring to check out with head office and get on the road; blood has to be processed within 2hrs of collection. Use the A2 back into London to avoid the traffic jam I saw earlier. Back at the home office, I ring the courier and arrange for a collection as soon as possible, they told me collection would be 1.5hrs later. Centrifuge the blood and complete paperwork, pack the sample and set aside for the courier. Whilst waiting, I decide to read through the protocol of another study I will be working on. Once the courier collects the sample, I make my way to the hospital to work on the database for a couple of hours.

Thursday

Today is a busy day, I have an appraisal meeting with my manager late afternoon. Before I go, I need to do as much work on the database as possible because the CRA gave us a deadline for all the data for the study patients to be up to date. It is lovely to meet with the Research Nurse Team Manager, as we are all field based, though we speak on the phone regularly we make the most of face to face catch up time. The appraisal goes well, we catch up briefly then I leave. What a long day but all is well that ends well!

Friday

I don’t have any appointments today, which is good because I have to catch up on the administrative side of my work. I have emails to reply to, training dates to follow up on, catch up on the protocol and ICH-GCP study. Before you could say Bob’s your uncle the day is passed and its 5pm, working week over.