Background and aims Our remote Local Neonatal Unit (LNNU) is located in Cornwall, and is 180 miles from the nearest tertiary centre. We already had research experience, but the lack of dedicated nurse support was inhibiting further research participation. Our aim was to promote neonatal research to facilitate inclusion in more studies.
Method A neonatal research nurse was recruited in 2012. Measures were implemented to increase the number and complexity of studies, and to be proactive in effective screening mechanisms, resulting in early identification of patients. Research was actively promoted, and teaching provided on a rolling programme. A close link was established with the Paediatric Research Nursing Team, to provide administrative support and cover in times of absence.
Links were made with research colleagues both regionally and nationally, and attendance at study days and conferences were identified as effective networking strategies.
Parental participation in research was encouraged, with the research nurse providing a link for the parents.
Results The number of studies has increased from an average of 1 ongoing study to 7 current studies. These studies include a meningitis study, a vaccine study, a platelet transfusion study and a large cohort observational study. A Patient Participation Involvement study is planned for the near future, and a service evaluation of the research team is awaiting approval.
Conclusions Effective neonatal research is dependent on a motivated and adequately resourced research team, including dedicated nursing research time. This has ensured that our LNNU will continue to provide excellent neonatal care, underpinned by research.