A day in the life...

Gillian Marshall


"I have only been in research for six months but feel I have already made a difference by offering patients hope through clinical trials."

Over the past decade, Cure Leukaemia has funded a network of 15 specialist nurses who work across the West Midlands region to administer pioneering drug treatments to leukaemia patients.


Gillian Marshall, Haematology Research Sister at the Centre for Clinical Haematology


My role is to carry out research to develop new drug and transplant treatments for patients with blood cancers. I believe that it is only through access to research that we will be able to have a real impact on these conditions. At present we have fourteen trials open to recruitment, thirteen trials where patients are in follow up and eleven trials under consideration.

My busy day begins with preparation for the clinic ahead. I look at the clinic list for that day and identify all the patients that are currently on trial with us. I also aim to be proactive within my role and screening for potential patients who may benefit from a clinical trial is also part of my role. Potential trial patients can also be identified at the weekly multidisciplinary team meetings.

Preparation for clinic is an important part of my role as I need to know where the patient is within the trial and ensure all relevant procedures are carried out within correct time points. For example, a patient may need a CT scan or specific blood samples may be required to send off to a central laboratory, if stipulated within the trial protocol. Safety is paramount and I work to strict Good Clinical Practice guidelines to ensure my patient is safe and fully informed at all times.

Recruiting someone into a clinical trial begins with an initial conversation with a member of the medical team. I will then introduce myself to the patient and give them a patient information sheet which covers all information relevant to the trial. The aims of the study, possible side effects and benefits, what is involved and how long the treatment will be. The patient is then given as long as they need to decide whether the trial is right for them, I always leave my contact number with them and emphasis the fact that they can call me with any questions or concerns they may have, This is the start of building a relationship with the patient that will hopefully last for years to come.

Being an advocate for my patient and supporting them at this difficult time is to me the most important aspect of my role as a research nurse. When the clinic is over and I have seen all my patients, my priority is to ensure that the information needed has been captured and recorded accurately. The quality and reproducibility of data are two of the key principles of ethically sound research. Quality of life assessments also play a role within the clinical trial and this information needs to be captured to allow the research team to collate information around new treatment. Reporting of adverse or serious events that the patient may experience is fundamental to patient protection and this is also part of my daily role.

My role is complex, varied and interesting. I have only been in research for six months but feel I have already made a difference by offering patients hope through clinical trials. I am very grateful to Deloitte for raising the money that has given me the chance to help people fight cancer. The more Nurses that Cure Leukaemia can fund the more lives we can save through vital research.

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"By backing Cure Leukaemia you will be making a direct impact; helping hundreds of thousands of people live a better life and avoid unnecessary suffering and death."

George Freeman MP
"By backing Cure Leukaemia you will be making a direct impact; helping hundreds of thousands of people live a better life and avoid unnecessary suffering and death."

George Freeman MP