Georgia Bercades, Clinical Research Nurse at University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship to undertake a study for her MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London, which she started in September 2014. Her study is titled ‘A study into hospital anaemia in critically ill patients.’ We spoke to Georgia to find out a bit more about her project.
How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
The Centre for Nurse and Midwife Led Research at UCLH has been encouraging Nurses and Midwives to apply for higher education. Through them, I came across information about the various scholarship foundations, which led me to apply for the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship.
Can you give us an overview of what your research entails?
Many intensive care unit (ICU) patients require blood transfusion during their illness. The frequency of blood testing is one factor that contributes towards causing anaemia to critically ill patients. Anaemia is a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or of haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness. I aim to identify the causes of anaemia in critically ill patients and examine the relationship of blood transfusions. I want to develop a standard of care to reduce iatrogenic anaemia (anaemia caused by medical examination or treatment) that may necessitate blood transfusion.
Critically ill patients need constant blood sampling to monitor their hemodynamic status. This will include arterial blood sampling, blood glucose monitoring and laboratory testing. Because of their condition, the frequent blood sampling can lead patients to become anaemic. There are ways to reduce the amount of blood sampling, which can save patients from receiving blood transfusion. For example, in-line arterial line sampling, smaller tubes for laboratory tests and blood sampling frequency.
What is the purpose of your research?
I am doing a part time MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London. The MSc Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care provides healthcare professionals working in clinical and social care advanced research training to conduct and evaluate research to understand and improve service delivery, quality of care and patient outcomes.
Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?
I have been an intensive care nurse for the last six years and have been working as a research nurse in the intensive care unit at UCLH for the last four years. I have been involved in clinical trials, both observational and interventional, funded commercially and / or by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). I was interested in becoming an investigator of a nurse led research, which led me to my proposed research topic.
What do you hope to achieve?
• A reduction in the cost of materials involved in blood testing and arterial blood gases;
• A reduction in workload for nurses, physicians and laboratory technicians;
• A change in clinical practice; and standardisation of care.
How will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
Receiving a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship is a great learning opportunity. It has given me confidence and courage in aiming for higher educational opportunities, which I can now encourage other nurses to do.
I hope this nursing led research can inspire fellow nurses to find new and effective ways in delivering patient care. I also hope to be a role model to nurses, encouraging them to aim for higher educational achievement.
We will be following Georgia’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing the results. Thank you to all the scholars who took the time to speak to us.