Today’s Nurses Take Studies to Patients

Clinical trial nurses bring the study to the patient

Today’s Nurses Take Studies to Patients

While in nursing school, I knew I’d be helping others throughout my career, but I never imagined my work could potentially impact and improve the quality of life for so many patients.

I am part of a team that manages home health nurse ─ also called field nurse ─ visits for clinical studies. While the majority of studies still require patients to travel to study sites for lab draws and therapy administration, many pharmaceutical sponsors are recognizing the benefits of engaging home health nurses.

Our team works directly with pharmaceutical clients, study sites and registered nurses in the field. Without these nurses, many patients would be unable, or unwilling, to participate in studies and receive treatments that change their lives for the better.

Taking Treatments to Patients – Wherever They Are

For studies involving pediatric or elderly patients, the benefits of home health nurses is obvious. But, home health nurses can potentially improve participation rates and patient outcomes for many kinds of studies, including those that require a significant number of patient visits.

UBC’s field nurses travel throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia to take investigational new therapies to patients in their homes. Depending on the study protocol, these nurses’ duties may include:

• Specimen collection, including lab draws
• Centrifuging and packaging lab samples
• Administering study drug
• Training patients to use study devices
• Assessing adverse events
• Ensuring compliance of paper and/or electronic diary use
• Collecting source data
• Educating patients and caregivers

No two patients are the same, and that applies not only to their health needs, but also to their schedules and environments. Not only do our nurses take treatments to patients’ homes, our nurses meet patients where they are, and that may include summer camp, college dorms, work, vacation, seasonal homes, and even camper trailers.  Our team does everything we can to ensure a patient does not miss a dose or lab draw and deviate from a study’s protocol requirements.

Improving Medicine One Patient at a Time

Every study brings stories — some are simple victories and others are life-altering.

One of my first studies involved pediatric patients with anemia. Study visits were scheduled weekly for several months and patients sometimes lived hours from a study site. The option to have home health nurses complete some of the study visits became a primary reason for many parents/patients to participate. Typically, a nurse went to these patients’ homes before or after school to administer the drug and collect data. One of the nurses called me after a visit to tell me that her young patient was in good spirits because she had enough energy to go to recess that day. Because of the study drug, this little girl was able to play with her classmates.

Another study focused on a rare disease that can cause cognitive issues including difficulty thinking and processing information. The study drug improved those issues so much, that some patients are now able to attend college or hold down a job. 

Improving Healthcare

My team and I have the opportunity to connect two areas of the healthcare industry that in the past have been kept separate. By bringing home health and clinical research together, we are creating opportunities: for nurses to learn and explore new areas of nursing, and for clients and study sites to reach enrollment goals and study completion faster by including patients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate. 

If you would like to learn more about how UBC’s network of home health nurses can take your study to patients, please contact us.