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The importance of research – and why Nottingham Hospitals Charity funds it

Blog by Dr Liz Charalambous RN, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD

COVID-19 has affected us all over the past year and it seems that we will have to learn to live with the virus for the foreseeable future. Thankfully we are fortunate to have scientific advancements on our side as new research is being published almost daily, and several vaccines to help us to find a way out of lockdown.

From a personal perspective, having entered the nursing profession in 1984, I have seen the difference that evidence-based care can make to our patients and have been fortunate to have had my own research funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity.

My PhD research ‘An Exploration of Volunteers Supporting Patients with Dementia and Cognitive Impairment on Acute Hospital Wards: A Qualitative Study’ built on my clinical work on an Healthcare of the Older Person (HCOP) acute medical ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, where I realised that working in collaboration with volunteers was a potential way to support patients at a difficult time in their lives.

As a result of this research, we now have an increased understanding of how to work with volunteers, and I have developed an evidence-based management model, the NURTURe model.

Working through Nottingham Hospitals Charity, I project managed the Pears youth volunteer scheme to recruit and educate young volunteers aged 16+ to support patients on the HCOP wards. As a result of implementing this research and developing new volunteer roles, patients and carers received extra support with activities and mealtimes, the staff had extra support too, and the volunteers themselves developed vital skills, experience, and qualifications to support their career pathway. Many have entered health care professions as a result.

None of this would have been possible without the generous donations to Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Indeed, this vital work goes on with the drive to undergo research into long COVID-19, important work which I anticipate will affect many people in and around Nottingham, and across the world.

Having stepped outside the realms of clinical work to undertake an academic role, I have been able to use my nursing knowledge and skills to complement research which continues to make a difference.

Thank you Nottingham Hospitals Charity for supporting my research. If you’d like to find out about the Charity’s Long Covid Research Appeal, click here for all the details.