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Nurses save lives every day. During these challenging times, they’re needed now more than ever. Nurses and hospital staff are constantly putting their lives at risk in the fight against COVID-19. We value their heroic work on the frontlines, and we believe their stories should be shared.

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As part of our contribution to International Nurses Day, we spoke with a few of our 2,300 PRA employees with nursing backgrounds. They share what nursing means to them, what people can do to support them, and why nurses are drawn to our industry.

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Nick Tate
Nick Tate
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Samantha Mineroff
Samantha Mineroff
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The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. This year, the WHO highlights the current status of nursing around the world. The WHO and its partners plan to make a series of recommendations to strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce.

As part of our contribution to International Nurses Day, we spoke with a few of our 2,300 PRA employees with nursing backgrounds. They share what nursing means to them, what people can do to support them, and why nurses are drawn to our industry.

MANAGERS

Katy Duksin

Katy Duksin, Manager of Clinical Operations, Study Start-Up Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

It means caring for others, seeing people in their most difficult condition, and being there when they are sick and dependent on others. It means serving and taking care of them as if they were your own family. It’s accepting people into the hospital in their critical condition, when their life is in danger. Watching them go home after you take care of them is the most rewarding part of being a nurse.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Diane Gillies, RGN RM BSc, Clinical Team Manager

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Although I’ve been out of nursing/midwifery for more than 20 years, I still think of myself as a nurse/midwife. It’s like a family you can’t or want to separate from. During my nurse training, I made lifelong friends and many of them are still nursing.

I trained first as a nurse and after 12 months of working in a high dependency surgical ward, I was back at college training to be a midwife. As a student nurse, we completed a module in the maternity ward and midwives had a reputation of being a bit scary. However, this did not deter me! I decided this was what I wanted to do.

Being a midwife was hard but it was also a privilege to be part of a couples’ birthing experience. As a nurse/midwife, you work longer hours. At the end of a long shift, if your lady is about to deliver, then you stay and support her though to the end. You work so hard with the couple and you start to build a relationship. You want to enjoy the end result, see the joy on their faces, and experience the miracle of life. It was a privilege to be part of this experience. However, it was often challenging working in an environment that was so busy and short-staffed. It was frustrating not always providing the level of care you would like due to being overstretched. Still, supporting a lady through childbirth is magical and it’s always rewarding to hear you’ve made a difference.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Ratana Kulkantrakorn, Manager of Clinical Operations

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse fits with my personal goal. We support others to be healthy, both mentally and physically.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Sandra Davies, Manager of Clinical Operations, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse gave me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives when they were at their most vulnerable. I helped give them confidence that we had their best interests at heart. We would do all we could to get them home or give them the dignity and respect they deserved.

Working in HIV, I remember being so inspired by the patients. Their thirst for knowledge of the disease was admirable, and they were determined to help in whatever way they could to improve understanding and development of future treatments.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Jan Kyle, Clinical Team Manager, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

It means an opportunity to help people and be a part of team with the same goals.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Hans van der Meulen, Manager, Study Start-Up Delivery, Western Europe

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

It means saving lives and supporting patients and relatives in difficult times. I worked for more than 10 years in a specialized oncology center, an environment where every extra day counts like an extra year. Nursing in that setting varies from experimental therapies, support for extra quality of life, emergency life support, and supportive care in the last days of a patient.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

DIRECTORS

Katharina Flack

Katharina Flack, Director, Study Start-Up Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

I felt I had a lot to give to patients and their families, and they would give back, too. Caring for others, helping them improve when they had been at their worst, or comforting them in their last hours always gave me a feeling of belonging and doing my bit for society.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

I felt I had a lot to give to patients and their families, and they would give back, too. Caring for others, helping them improve when they had been at their worst, or comforting them in their last hours always gave me a feeling of belonging and doing my bit for society.

Katharina Flack, Director, Study Start-Up Delivery

ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS

Esther Prang

Esther Prang, Associate Director of Clinical Operations EMEA, Strategic Solutions

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

I wanted to help people get better and healthy again. My nurse education was broad, so we were trained to work in general hospital/psychiatry/mental and physically disabled/elderly and district nursing. After a few months working in a general hospital, I chose psychiatry and worked in that field for nearly 7 years.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

You leave the hospital not because you don’t want to care, but you want to care in a different way.

Esther Prang, Associate Director of Clinical Operations EMEA, Strategic Solutions

Victoria Hawkins

Victoria Hawkins, Associate Director of Clinical Operations, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse means caring for people when they are sick and helping them to feel better. It is a privilege and honor for them to trust in you, even though they don’t know you. Being a nurse helped me grow as person. Through nursing, I’ve seen what really matters in life and how fragile life is. I’ve learned to make every minute count.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Jing Yang, Associate Director, Drug Safety Center, Asia-Pacific

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse means being part of medical team providing patient holistic care and support.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

CLINICAL RESEARCH/PROJECT ASSOCIATES

Cathleen Ng

Cathleen Ng, Clinical Research Associate, Country Consultant for Singapore & Malaysia

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Compassion, selflessness, and saving lives.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Lena Liliebladh

Lena Liliebladh, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

It was always an obvious choice for me since I was a little girl. I was fascinated by the idea of meeting people, interacting together to facilitate their everyday lives, helping them to feel better, or sometimes giving them valuable end-of-life care.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Rachel Kuit

Rachel Kuit, Sr. Project Associate, Strategic Solutions

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

I am a midwife who trained and worked in the UK, where it’s not necessary to be a nurse first. Being a midwife has allowed me to gain a unique insight into the most important time of a person’s life. Being a midwife means being an autonomous healthcare professional who works with women and their families not only medically, but also socially to help their transition into motherhood.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

I think the best way to currently support midwives and nurses is to remember that they are people too. They appreciate it when someone takes the time to say thank you or acknowledge the extra mile they go to provide the best care for their patients.

Rachel Kuit, Sr. Project Associate, Strategic Solutions

Anja Vermaazen, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

For me, nursing is caring for other people in a wide perspective. It’s so satisfying to be there for someone and help other people in their wellbeing.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Alice Agnew, BNurs, MSc, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse means being an advocate for patients and their families. It means caring for those who need it, and providing a safe, non-judgmental space for people to share their concerns.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Eddie Pensom, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

For me, becoming a nurse initially meant a number of things. First and foremost, it was a job and a career. I followed a path that over time enabled me to provide for my family, opening many exciting and varied doors along the way.

But equal to this, nursing has shown me a side of our world and of humanity that I may not have seen had I taken a different path. It has taught me to look at people and their needs in a different way. It has taught me what a privilege it is to care for someone. Nursing made me grow as a person in a way that I may never have considered.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Christie Oakes

Christie Oakes, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a midwife to me is about a soothing touch, a reassuring smile, knowing when to talk, and when silence is just what the woman in my care needs. It is the ability to be calm and collected during times of emergency, knowing how to gain trust in just a split second so that you are trusted by a woman who you have only just met with her most treasured possession.

It is about putting every part of me into making that woman’s experience the best it possibly can be no matter what the outcome, being there for her even after my shift has ended because her needs come before mine. I am her advocate and sometimes the only one speaking to support her. It is my duty to ensure she has a voice.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

It is about putting every part of me into making that woman’s experience the best it possibly can be no matter what the outcome, being there for her even after my shift has ended because her needs come before mine. I am her advocate and sometimes the only one speaking to support her. It is my duty to ensure she has a voice.

Christie Oakes, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Vasiliki Simeonidou, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

It’s a difficult job because you have to give 110% of yourself and your knowledge every day. You are dealing with human lives on a daily basis and need to be focused and careful in your work. The psychological part of the job is also very important to mention, sometimes you go home happy with how things turned out for your patient and sometimes you lose patients due to their diseases, which can be difficult to handle.

During the years I worked as a nurse, my emotions were put in a pot with the lid on. Two years after I stopped working as a nurse, I happened to see a movie about a cancer patient who eventually died in the movie. The movie opened the lid of my pot and I remembered cases that I thought I had forgotten about and I couldn’t stop crying, but when you work as a nurse in an infectious disease department you need to put the lid on, otherwise you cannot continue doing the job.

Nursing to me means to love and care for all humans—no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in. Nursing is empathy, nursing is supporting people and making their vulnerable day bearable. Nursing is being a shoulder to cry on, someone who understands what you are going through. Nursing is giving hope.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Nursing to me means to love and care for all humans—no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in. Nursing is empathy, nursing is supporting people and making their vulnerable day bearable. Nursing is being a shoulder to cry on, someone who understands what you are going through. Nursing is giving hope.

Vasiliki Simeonidou, Clinical Research Associate, Clinical Operations, Clinical Delivery

LIAISONS

Missy Hansen, Pediatric Strategy Liaison, Scientific Affairs Therapeutic Expertise

Tell us what being a nurse means to you.

Being a nurse, one takes on a LOT of responsibility. It’s about the journey we walk with our families every day, and how to do that with respect and care for patients, families, and ourselves.

People often have said, ”I don’t know how you do it.” Some days I’m not sure either, but I know that I can! With that comes a certain amount of obligation and responsibility to care for these families. In the oncology world, my primary focus, we often meet patients and families at their most vulnerable. A lot is laid on the table in those first few hours and days of a patient’s diagnosis—not only the disease, but the state of that person’s well-being and the family’s psychosocial dynamic. Much of that is bared to the nurse and others on the health care team. We often know more than the family’s immediate members and friends.

Being a nurse, you acknowledge all of that and work with the family at all times. It is important to remember it is a process, a journey, a new life or starting point for the newly diagnosed patient with cancer and their family. It’s important to walk with them and be supportive at all times.

Why were you drawn to nursing as a profession?

What can the general public do to elevate and support nurses, especially during these challenging times?

There are over 2,300 people in PRA with a background in nursing. Why do you think that so many former nurses are drawn to working in our industry and PRA?

Learn more about how PRA supports and celebrates human centricity.

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