Our midwifery researchers discuss the impact of COVID-19 on research and new ways of working
Colleagues across all departments and teams have been involved in the Covid-19 response and their work has taken on a new focus during this time.
Two former midwifery clinicians who work in research roles for the Trust have been focused on finding new ways of working with patients through the pandemic.
Karen Verrill is a former midwife, and is a Research and Development Project Manager at Newcastle Hospitals, currently working on COVID-19 studies as a Research Midwife at Newcastle Hospitals. She is working alongside Vikki Smith, a former Midwife Sonographer; who holds a joint Clinical Academic role between Northumbria University and Newcastle Hospitals.
A typical day for Karen involves liaising with the clinical midwives to identify any pregnant women who may be eligible to participate in research studies.
“An important part of my role currently is to promote research and raise awareness of the COVID-19 studies that we are running in Reproductive Health. I also need to ensure that we are liaising with the right people in the Trust so that studies can be set up quickly and implemented effectively.”
Karen has been struck by how COVID has influenced the rapid set up and approval of research and believes there are some valuable lessons to be learned from how COVID studies have been initiated in a matter of days whereas previously this would normally take weeks or months.
“I think that everyone recognises the need to work together to try to improve how we set up and implement studies going forward.”
Vikki is involved in a Fetal Ultrasound Telemedicine Clinic, which has been running for five years and links Newcastle Hospitals Fetal Medicine Unit with West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.
“We had plans to extend the service to other trusts and because of the COVID-19 situation we have very rapidly set up a fetal ultrasound telemedicine link with Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Northumberland. The main benefits are that patients can be seen without having to travel for a consultation.”
She believes there are growing opportunities for research to influence how we practice in the future as there has been a lot of focus on reducing face to face visits for patients.
“It is an excellent opportunity to capture the perspectives of staff and patients in relation to remote consultations where possible. There are so many other ways to interact with patients and we have a real opportunity to understand more about what patients actually prefer.
“In many cases it may be possible for women (and partners) to be reviewed via video link or telephone rather than coming to a hospital antenatal clinic when they could be in the comfort of their own home.”
For the fully story or more information please visit the Newcastle Joint Research Office website https://newcastlejro.com/covid-19/covid-19-blog/karen-verrill-vikki-smith/
Page last updated: 7 September, 2020, 5:19pm