Research news

“Doing research into Long Covid made me feel validated.”

Picture of Charge Nurse, Dawn Holden

Dawn Holden caught Covid in April 2020 and several months on was still struggling with long term symptoms plus trying to continue to work at NSFT. At the time she was not aware of anyone else who was experiencing long term symptoms where she worked. Dawn was feeling quite alone with what she was experiencing both physically, psychologically and the repercussions of working whilst managing the process of sickness meetings etc.


Dawn explains, “I thought that there must be other people within the trust who were experiencing similar difficulties. I think I must have seen something in an email or Trust communications about the research team and thought that I would contact them to ask if they had thought about doing any research based on this.”


Dawn had a reply from the Research Team, and she was put in touch with senior research nurse Louise McCarthy.


“I found Louise to be wonderful and so friendly,” Dawn explains. “We met up via Teams and discussed what I was experiencing and my thoughts about what should be asked within the research proposal.  Following this a survey was initiated which was sent out to NSFT employees.”


The survey looked at the prevalence of post-covid symptoms across the NSFT workforce – the details of the study were recently published in Nursing Research Matters Nursing Research Matters - Learning from COVID-19 ( on page 116 and 117. 


“What was lovely,” explains Dawn, “Is that I was included in all of the steps, the questions that were chosen to be asked in the study and the findings. Which was so kind of the research team as I had only done a very small part of this work (asked the questions) and when I was asked if I would like my name included in the research document it was a surprise and very validating for me.”


Dawn has found it has given her the confidence to contribute to further research projects that have taken place, answering questionnaires and an interview undertaken by a university.  


“I am more aware of the benefit of research and how it is integral to development within NSFT. Participating in this research has also broadened my perspective on possible future careers paths,” explains Dawn.  


Dawn would advise other people to get in touch with research particularly if they have an area of interest that they feel passionate about or that they feel needs developing.


“Louise was so encouraging and interested in my views and I felt that what I had to say really mattered. Any email I receive now regarding research I pass on to all my immediate team in the hope that this will encourage other NSFT employees to become involved in research,” explains Dawn.


If you are interested in sharing an idea for research with the NSFT research team then please email  or we have a new section on our website Become Involved | Norfolk and Suffolk NHS ( under speedy surveys   What would you like to see us research?  where you can suggest your research idea.

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