Rosalynn’s Blog: Specialist Research Nurse and Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow

Rosalyyn Austin works as a Specialist Research Nurse, in Cardiology at Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust & University of Southampton. Find out more about her role and how Rosalynn’s work will contribute to and create new knowledge in chronic heart failure. 

Why I wanted to become a nurse 

The pathway I followed into nursing was not conventional. After graduating from high school (in Canada) I knew that I wanted to help people improve their health, but it was not until after I completed my Masters of Science that I discovered the possibility of combining my love of Health Research and Nursing. I found the over arching scope of Nursing and the profession’s views of patients’ health matched perfectly with my views. I believe as nurses we should meet a person where they are, in a health crisis, and work with them to improve their health experience, simultaneously enhancing our knowledge of health sciences.

How my career has developed

After becoming a registered nurse in Canada I worked in an Acute Neurologic ward for a year. I then completed the training required to register as a nurse with the NMC in the UK. Initially I worked in an ITU ward in London, before the opportunity to work as a research nurse at Guys and St Thomas’ hospital arose. There I completed research specific training and became a Senior Research Nurse specialising in Renal Transplant Research. Since 2014 I have worked as a Specialist Research Nurse in Cardiology at Portsmouth Hospital Trust. It was there in 2016 I was awarded a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship funded by the NIHR Wessex CLAHRC and began my PhD at the University of Southampton.

On a typical day

I am a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, I work clinically two days a week and the other three days I work on my PhD. As a Specialist Research Nurse, in Cardiology, I work with a team to facilitate a portfolio of observational and interventional research studies within the hospital environment. The workload alters depending on study protocol and can mean working with acute cardiac patients to those who are more stable cardiac outpatients. We care for these patients’ in cooperation with their clinical team as well as running research specific outpatient clinics. As a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, supported by my academic and clinical supervisors I developed, am coordinating, and completing research that will lead to the award of a PhD. The goal of my study is to explore if the symptoms of chronic heart failure interact with the work that patients are assigned to manage their illness.  You can find further details about my project here:

How I’ve made a difference as a nurse

As a Specialist Research Nurse, I feel like I have the best job in nursing as I work clinically with patients, facilitating the opportunity for them to participate in research projects. Sometimes I get to provide care that is not available to patients as part of a standard treatment plan. I enjoy seeing what this means to them, as well as how this continually pushes me to learn more about cardiology. Ensuring my nursing skills are continually being used and improved. During my PhD I get to take this even further as my project as the results, will contribute to and create new knowledge in chronic heart failure. The combination of these roles has developed my leadership skills though mentorship and sharing my research.

What would you say to someone interested in a career in nursing?

Nursing has provided me with a great career so far. I believe it promotes a holistic way of interacting with patients which aligns with my beliefs about healthcare. If you are interested in nursing, I can thoroughly recommend it as a career. Spend as much time as you can talking to and shadowing nurses in your local hospital and follow the other nurses being highlighted by NHS England to see some of the diverse roles you could have as a nurse.