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Spotlight: Paediatric Research Nurse, Lizzie Fofana

International Nurses Day 2023 - Academy

I work as a Paediatric Research Nurse at Solent. My role involves helping and supporting clinical teams to deliver research studies and research interventions for their patients in the community. Before working in research I was a staff nurse on the children’s wards at Southampton General Hospital, including eight years as a staff nurse on the children’s neurosurgery ward.

Since moving into a research-focussed role, I've been involved in helping to deliver numerous studies within our communities, including the Prevenar study which looked at how effective the Prevenar Vaccine was in protecting babies and children under the age of five against Streptococcus pneumoniae. As part of this study myself and my colleagues would work alongside health visitors to attend clinics, play sessions at family hubs, and 'rhyme time sessions' at libraries in order to collect nasal swabs from children under the age of five years old. These swabs were then sent to a lab in order to detect what bacteria was present; this allowed the study team to monitor and report on how well the current childhood vaccinations were working, and if the vaccine needed to be updated.

Another study I work on is called the PARROT Trial which is looking at using prophylactic antibiotics (aka, preventative antibiotics) to reduce the occurrence of chest infections in children with neurological disabilities. For this study I make home visits to families who are part of the trial, in order to monitor and record the progress and respiratory symptoms of children who are either taking antibiotics or a placebo.

Currently, I'm also working with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team on a trial that is looking at the treatment acceptance of a medication called Olanzepine for young people with anorexia nervosa. The hope is that this study will lead to a larger trial in the future.

What I enjoy most about my job is spending time with the children, young people and their families who are participating in the research studies, as well as being a part of the care they are receiving at Solent. It's also really rewarding for myself and the families to know that the research studies we are involved in, will go on to help improve the care children and families receive in the future.


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