Tinashe Samakomva, Research Nurse

Tinashe Samakomva is a Research Nurse based at St George’s.

What does your role normally involve?

I’m one of two Research Matrons working here at St George’s that are based in the Clinical Research Facility run jointly by the Trust and St George’s, University of London. I only joined the Trust in February this year, so spent my first four weeks getting to know the research teams, and all the different studies that are currently open to recruitment in the areas I manage.

How has it changed as a result of Covid-19?

My role has not changed in terms of leadership, and oversight of my research teams; however, the focus of my role is now on oversight and management of the newly assembled multi-disciplinary Covid-19 research team, which is supporting the shift of everyone’s attention towards combating the virus.

What are your research priorities at the moment?

To keep patients safe, we have signficantly reduced the number of people accessing the St George’s site; although a small number are still coming to hospital because they are participating in trials that could offer them life-saving treatment. It’s a difficult time for everyone, but the response from staff and patients has been fantastic.

As stated above, our main research priorities are now to facilitate the safe set-up, implementation and management of national Covid-19 research studies, and – as important – recruitment of eligible patients and staff to these studies here at St George’s.

What are the potential benefits for patients and staff?

It is exciting to see the focus on Covid-19 research, as there is the potential for new and effective treatments to be identified. The importance and necessity of clinical research really comes through in times like these; after, all this is how evidence-based medicine is generated.

By facilitating Covid-19 trials here at St George’s, we are offering patients and staff the opportunity to help inform future treatments, and potentially identify life-saving treatments. Although we know these things don’t happen overnight.

Has anything really surprised or impressed you?

Our recently assembled Covid-19 research team has so impressed me! We are an amazing multi-disciplinary team covering a range of specialties and roles – including infectious diseases, gastroenterology, hepatology, microbiology, intensive care and respiratory. The team is made up of lots of different staff with an interest and expertise in research – including consultants, nurses, midwives, research practitioners and research co-ordinators, lab technicians and the Joint Research and Enterprise Services team.

Every member of staff has consistently been giving 100% with their expertise, availability, ideas and effort. We all work in different research specialties, but the Covid-19 crisis has demanded a new way of working, and our research team has more than risen to the challenge, and demonstrated how capable they at responding to new situations and uncertainty. Without them all, the efforts we have made to set-up the trials would have come to nothing – so I feel very proud to be part of the organisation even though I am quite new!