Critical Care

Research Nurses

Helen Michalopoulos and Orla Smith

Under the direction of Dr. Michael Ward, the critical care department has developed a unique approach to clinical trials co-ordination in the medical surgical intensive care unit (MSICU).

Currently, two research coordinators and registered nurses, Helen Michalopoulos and Orla Smith, are alternately responsible for trial operations and maintenance. Both are nurses who work in the MSICU and have specialized clinical skills in the care and management of the critically ill patient. Both coordinators also have education in and experience with research concepts and methodology.

The program has successfully secured Research Ethics Board approval for two industry-funded trials; one CIHR funded trial and several smaller projects of interest to the group.

Given the Hospital's patient population base and the high mortality rates associated with sepsis, the research focus in the MSICU to date has been on new treatment approaches to the management of the septic patient. The team is continually searching for opportunities to expand the program to incorporate other topics and to identify treatment approaches with potential benefit to our patients.

The group meets monthly to review progress, assess project status and evaluate the feasibility of new projects. Given the success of the pilot position of clinical nurse/research coordinators, expansion of this initiative into the other critical care areas is imminent. The creation of a critical care research network within the Hospital will foster a multidisciplinary cooperation and collaboration and contribute to the continual assurance of research development and quality patient care for the critically ill.

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