A research midwife in Teesside has become the top performing study lead in the region.
Sharon Gowans, who works at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, has recruited more participants to research studies she is leading than any of her peers in the North East and Cumbria.
Sharon, who has more than eight years’ experience in research, is one of a growing number of health professionals in the country acting as a principal investigator for studies who is not a doctor.
Over the last 16 months, Sharon and her team have recruited more than 3,000 participants to the research trials she is leading at the Trust.
She said: “I am really proud of this achievement – but it really is down to the teams we work with in maternity”.
“The fact that we are midwives ourselves means we understand the challenges that midwives face and this enables us to work as part of the team and we have really good relationships with the maternity teams in all areas”.
“The clinical midwives are all invested in research and the importance of it. The team are extremely positive about it and are ready to have those conversations with women about the benefits of being involved in research trials”.
“It’s also a credit to the managers in our maternity service, as they are very supportive and keen to help us raise awareness of the studies we are taking part in.”
Last year Sharon became one of the first health professionals who is not a doctor to become a Principal Investigator for research studies.
She added: “In this role I feel like our team can make a real impact into the studies we are involved in”.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in research – improving the treatment and health outcomes we can offer to our women and babies.”
Two of the five studies Sharon is currently leading on include INGR1D2, looking at the early detection of type 1 diabetes in babies and the iGBS3 which is looking at developing a vaccine to prevent Group B Strep infection in newborn babies.