An Interview with Chifundo Stubbs

Chifundo Stubbs is a Clinical Research Nurse at NIHR Wellcome King’s Clinical Research Facility (CRF), a purpose-built facility to support clinical trials in mental health, neurology, general and acute medicine.

Please can you give us an overview of your role?

I am a research nurse working for NIHR Wellcome King’s Clinical Research Facility (CRF). Our department specialises in experimental medicine and runs primarily phase I and some phase II studies majority of which are funded by commercial companies.  However, we also assist in some academic studies on behalf of various researchers at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Maudsley.

My role involves the setting up and delivery of studies, this comprises such as clinical tasks such as taking patient electrocardiograms (ECGs) and venepunctures, elements of study coordination, and organising things such as monitoring visits and data entry.

I am also the Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Lead for CRF and work under the guidance of the CRF manager to help improve the patient experience. We try and ensure that participants are involved in the setup and delivery of research at the CRF. One of our main focuses this year is to reach out to the groups of the loal community that are less represented, such as black and other ethnic minority groups.

What are the favourite part of working at the CRF?

The Clinical side is probably my favourite part of my role, such as looking after participants/patients with no time constraints as you would have in a ward, which is very fulfilling.  Also being able to follow patients throughout the trial period allows you to build a relationship which in turn helps produce better quality research.

Are there any aspects of your role which would surprise someone to know?

Most definitely, because we deal with experimental medicine, I have been involved in trials where we had to prepare and administer cannabis vapour to patients with permission from the Home Office under the strict control of pharmacy. 

Can you give a brief overview of your career? What are you most proud of?

I have been a nurse for 10 years, all of which have been spent at King’s College Hospital.  I have worked in Haemo-oncology as a transplant nurse for the first five years, followed by a year in Palliative Research before joining the NIHR Wellcome King’s Clinical Research Facility department.

My proudest moment is receiving a Thank You letter 100 days post-transplant from a patient.  I had supported them through the ups and downs of the transplant journey. Whilst as a research nurse I am extremely proud of being part of the Covid-19 vaccine trial team - I feel like I have made a contribution in the fight against this dreadful disease.

How did you get interested in research?

Most of the treatment offered to Haemo-oncology patients are late phase clinical trials so in a way I have always been involved in research in my nursing career but with limited knowledge which I had always found very frustrating. So, when a post came up to join the palliative research team I went for it. In the end it didn’t stretch across enough clinical aspects, so a year later I joined the CRF.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your work / life? What Covid-19 specific projects have you worked on?

One of my roles at the CRF is an infection Control Link Nurse and so I am involved in ensuring that infection guidelines are followed in the department to help ensure the safety of participant and that of members of staff.  Maintaining social distance has meant that we see less patients at any one time but because majority of the studies we carry out at the CRF are category one we have been busy nevertheless.  I have been involved in the vaccine trials as a CRF Clinical Co-Ordinator and also the one of the main national antibodies study as a CRF Lead.

What does an average working day look like for you?

I currently work 8.00-15.30 three days a week and my day usually starts by attending to any emails that might have been sent between 15.30 and 17.00.  This is followed by preparing for any participants that I might be seeing that day, and responding to emails and data queries from patients, colleagues and sponsors.  I also assist colleagues as required.

What are you working on at the moment?

Mainly Covid-19 vaccine trails and preparing for other trials that are currently in setup stage.

What would you say to someone considering participating in a clinical trial either as a patient or a healthy volunteer?

I would encourage them to go for it, for patients it’s the potential to try new medicines that are currently not on the market and it is well known that patients get extra support whilst they are participating on clinical trials. 

Whilst for healthy volunteers it’s an opportunity to do something good and in addition to this majority of the studies compensate participants for their time so that they are not out of pocket.

All about you 

Favourite book / TV series / box set of the last year

Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer 

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Smile - Kirk Franklin

Who is your science hero? 

It has to be Charles R Drew

Best discovery of lockdown 1, 2, or 3

One of my local parks - Lloyd Park in Croydon 

How would you spend your perfect Saturday?

Afternoon Barbeque with friends and family with music playing old school music.

Tags: BRC Interview Series -

By NIHR Maudsley BRC at 12 May 2021, 09:00 AM

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