A research nurse at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has won an award in recognition of her hard work and leadership.
Rekha Patel was given the Outstanding Achievement Award at the inaugural Clinical Research Network East Midlands research awards.
Ms Patel, who is the lead research nurse for a number of clinical trials at Leicester’s hospitals, was nominated by nurse and consultant colleagues who praised her commitment and problem-solving skills.
One trial she is working on looks at ways of reducing high lung pressure in seriously-ill newborn babies who need medical support to help them breathe.
Thanks to her determination, the trust is the second most successful recruiter behind Sweden for the international trial.
“This study is extremely difficult to recruit to, as it requires approaching parents when their babies are less than three days old and are at their most critical,” said Ms Patel.
Award win for ‘outstanding’ Leicester research nurse
“The news that their babies are so sick come as a surprise to parents as this condition cannot be predicted prior to birth,” she said.
Once parents have signed up, Ms Patel is responsible for co-ordinating the work of three departments to ensure the infant receives the drug being studied safely and correctly.
She described how she worked all hours, including at weekends and on her days off, to ensure the study was a success.
“The central study team were expecting to recruit one baby in Leicester, as they recognise how difficult it can be but so far we have recruited four,” she said.
Colleagues also praised the way Ms Patel stepped in to rescue a floundering study when she was acting children’s research manager.
“Rekha’s ability to grasp the scale of the problems, identify the major causes and work with the team to put in place an effective solution was outstanding,” said one colleague that nominated her.
“She showed real leadership, intuition and guts to tackle the problem. It is in no small part thanks to her leadership role during this time and the decisions she made, or allowed to be made, that the study has thrived,” they said.