To celebrate International Women's Day we interviewed our wonderful Research Nurse/Clinical Trial Coordinator, Shona. Shona is positioned within the Clinical Trials Team. She works closely with participants, supporting them through their clinical trial journey.

Shona transitioned from a traditional nursing role into the clinical trial role in the past year to expand her skills and contribute to the advancement of medicine.

Tell us about yourself, your role, and your career so far.

I grew up on a farm in rural/remote Western Australia where I was surrounded by many resourceful and hardworking female (and male!!) role models who displayed strength in hardship, ingenuity in isolation and courage in adversity. All skills that came in very handy when I left home and moved to Perth as a seventeen-year-old in 2009 and decided to study nursing simply to “help people”.

I have been working at Perth Blood Institute as a Research Nurse/Clinical Trial Coordinator since July 2020. My role is a varied one which involves practicing my general nursing skills: conducting patient assessments, establishing venous access, obtaining pathology samples, and administering medications as well as undertaking the day-to-day coordination of some of Perth Blood Institute’s clinical trials.

Prior to joining the team, I have worked in a variety of healthcare fields from hospital based surgical, medical and oncology nursing to community diabetes management and most recently haematology.

 What is the most rewarding part of your role?

I find working in healthcare rewarding in general; healthcare is a team environment with many moving parts working together and supporting each other to achieve a common patient-centred goal.

One of the rewarding aspects of my current role is the opportunity to build a rapport with and provide support to clinical trial participants on their haematology journey, while concurrently gathering information that expands current knowledge and has the potential to change the management of a disease in time to come.

It is a real honour to have the opportunity to work as part of a team of amazing women and men who are contributing to the furtherment of understanding regarding the safety and efficacy of medicines for the betterment of patient outcomes.  

Can you tell us about your career highlights?

I find it hard to pin-point particular individual career “highlights” or achievements, however I feel that it is a career highlight every time I have had privilege and opportunity to be involved in life-changing moments in people’s lives. From supporting a palliative patient and their family to achieve a dignified passing to assisting someone to better manage their chronic condition and subsequently improving their quality of life to my current role where the work that I do each day will help in some small degree to shape the practice of medicine for both current and future generations.

Another highlight of my career is simply the people who I work with. The people who deliver every day and are dedicated to and balance their professional and home lives with extraordinary competence all the while supporting and caring for each other and their patient’s. There are truly some remarkable people in my working life who are a delight to work with and for.

What does the future hold for you?

I am unsure what the future holds for me personally, however I hope that through combining both nursing and research I can play a small part in making a difference in people’s lives both now and in the future.

Thank you to Shona for sharing her journey in celebration of International Women's Day!