Research news

Research linking with Early Intervention Service

For International Nurses Day, Thursday 12 May, we hear from NSFT Research Nurse Caroline Sheldon about how s he works with the Early Intervention teams to get the word out about the research we are doing.

My role asCaroline Sheldon, Research Nurse a research delivery nurse is to facilitate opportunities for clinicians, service users and our communities to build their knowledge around research. I promote informed choice within the wide spectrum of ‘research’ and the opportunities that lie within. With this in mind I wanted to develop an initiative which made research more accessible to service users.

The majority of current studies for our adult population are really relevant for service users of the early intervention team (EI) the service that supports people with first episode psychosis. Most relevant is the PPiP2 study (Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis). There is evidence that some cases of psychosis may be caused by a specific problem with the immune system, this study aims to see how many people with psychosis may have this specific problem. This can be found out by testing your blood for specific antibodies.

I reached out to the EI teams across Norfolk with the hope I could invite myself along on the days they run their physical health clinics. Their response has been fantastic and what developed from this makes me incredibly proud.

The teams were all happy to have some study specific training to aid in identifying potential participants. I was invited to attend clinical team meetings to offer support for case managers to identify potential participants, discuss and ask questions.

“Our bodies and minds are not separate so it’s not surprising that mental ill health can affect your body. That’s one of the reasons that EI focus on physical health and its importance. It’s been really interesting learning about the PPIP study and working alongside Caroline with service users. Working in collaboration together has helped to promote the research, given us a clearer understanding of its purpose and more importantly helped our service users feel empowered to potentially help others diagnosed with Psychosis.”            

Sally Hallett, Clinical Support Worker

The interest and support I have received from the nurses leading these clinics and the wider teams has been amazing. All were happy to add to their role within the clinic by having conversations with service users in the clinic to see if they would like to talk to a researcher about opportunities to take part in research. I have been able to offer a bit back and support the clinic with phlebotomy skills when needed and for me this initiative has felt like a true piece of collaborative working.

Because of the support from the nurse leads at some point in the future, all EI service users will have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with a researcher. Service users will be able to make their own informed decision about taking part in research, whether that is participating in a study, offering ideas and feedback about research or collaborating in the development of new research. To me that is something to be very proud of. Below are some thoughts from the my colleagues themselves.

“It has been great Chloe Creed, mental health nurseto work with Caroline and the wider research team to understand the different studies that are available to our service users. Caroline and I discussed different ways of offering information and support with all that is involved for our service users and we have been able to provide a service that is efficient and relevant, by combining our physical health clinics with face-to-face meetings with Caroline or another member of the research team. This has improved the uptake of the studies where blood tests are required, as this is carried out at the same time and has allowed us to work more closely to understand how to provide the best care and treatment. Thank you, Caroline, for reaching out to us! Happy International Nurses Day!”

Chloe Creed, Mental Health Nurse

If you are interested in being a research link for the trust or would like to find out more - please email

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