Midwife named among top research leads – in role traditionally performed by doctors

A research midwife has been recognised for the role she has played leading research studies – as she celebrates a new landmark achievement in her organisation.

Sharon Gowans, a research midwife at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, is one of the trust’s principal investigators (PI) for research studies.

research midwife Sharon Gowans

She has become the Trust’s first ever PI who is a non-medic to be placed in the research network’s top five highest recruiters.

The role of a PI is traditionally carried out by a doctor – but is now something being performed by other highly qualified and experienced health professionals.

Sharon said: “It is a privilege to be able to lead research trials in the organisation.

“Research studies help find new treatments and save lives – something which has never been more apparent than over the course of the pandemic.

“The only reason why every PI here and their teams are able to recruit so many participants to studies is due to our staff and patients.

“Our staff are so engaged with research. They understand the importance of it and they take that time to speak to their patients about being involved in trials.

“And our patients are so responsive to this. They want to help find answers not only for their own health but for people who may need it in the future too.”

The Trust’s research and development department has also recently welcomed two new members to the team – midwife Kirsty Farrington and delivery unit lead midwife Julie Woollaston.

Delivery unit lead midwife Julie Woollaston. research midwife Sharon Gowans and midwife Kirsty Farrington

Elaine Gouk, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and deputy medical director for the Trust, said: “Sharon has shown just how much of an impact she has made as a principal investigator at the organisation.

“She has been placed among the most successful PIs and has previously been awarded a research star for her work in research at our Trust.

“Being able to welcome both Kirsty and Julie to the team is also fantastic news. In Sharon they have someone outstanding in her role who they can learn from and share good practice.

“Research has never had as high a profile among our staff, patients and wider community – it really is such an exciting time to be involved in research.”

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