Current position: Brachytherapy Specialist
Years qualified as an RT: 8
Why did you decide to get involved in research?
I was the trial coordinator for TROG RADIOHUM in our department and also spent a year covering maternity leave for the QR&D specialist. I found this very interesting and it inspired me to do my own research. Luckily it also gave me an accurate representation of how much work goes into conducting a trial so I am under no illusions! I have done one post-graduate paper at university so far and will be starting my honours degree in 2015.
Who encouraged you to get involved in research and who do you go to for advice when you need it?
Dr Patries Herst at the University of Otago has overseen some excellent trials in New Zealand, a notable one being the Phase III randomised trial on the ‘Prophylactic use of Mepitel Film prevents radiation-induced moist desquamation in an intra-patient randomised controlled clinical trial of 78 breast cancer patients’. This showed promising results and has altered our department’s practice for breast patients. It’s very encouraging to see primary research of this nature coming from New Zealand.
In terms of advice, Patries is great at answering questions. Our clinical director Dr Iain Ward has a lot of experience with trials and has been of great assistance.
What sort of activities/studies have you been involved in?
Data collection for RADIOHUM. I also helped organise the start-up meeting for CHISEL in New Zealand.
What do you enjoy most about being involved in this/these research activities?
Mostly seeing the research translate into direct benefits to patients and seeing your hard work change clinical practice.
What has been your biggest challenge or barrier to being involved in research?
Funding is a big issue in New Zealand for trials. I have been lucky enough to be granted funding through an oncology trust fund.
What one piece of advice would you give other researchers who have never been involved in research before?
Going to the TROG Annual Scientific Meeting is a good way to meet established researchers and pick their brains!