Research Heroes of the Month - April 2023

Creating a research culture

Research heroes are individuals who are part of a hidden army of staff supporting research across the organisation. We want to take the opportunity to celebrate their contribution and thank them for making a difference.

This month we would like to highlight the consistent and longstanding work of our colleagues in Memory Assessment Services (MAS) in their role in creating a research culture as part of clinical care. In particular, we would like to draw attention to the work of Memory Nurses, Mary Page and Denise Ramsden who advocate for research within our Memory Services.

We can only make progress if people are aware of the different research opportunities available to them and this can only happen if staff involved in their care have these important conversations. For Mary and Denise, research is treated as a core part of their clinical work.

Denise said: “That’s one of the reasons I got involved in research. The ultimate goal is to cureDenise Ramsden dementia and without our lovely volunteers this wouldn’t happen.” 

Our colleagues in Memory Assessment Services have contact with patients at the start of their dementia journey following a diagnosis. This is often brief, but significant. Given the wealth of information given in these appointments, there can be questions of how discussion of research opportunities can fit in.

Denise adds: “It’s important to ask people if they want to be involved  in research. I always ask within my post-diagnostic support visits – it really doesn’t take long. I get patients who want to sign up straight away and others who will will think about it. I leave a leaflet so they may consider it. The more people who get involved means one day we could get that cure.”

Both Denise and Mary role model the variety of ways that nurses can support, engage, and lead on research as part of their core roles. This not only benefits the patients they care for, but creates further opportunities for us as an NHS trust to deliver high quality research in collaboration with the leading academics and institutions in the field of dementia.

Mary Page comments: “I have enjoyed taking part in some of the project work and promoting the studies the Trust is running. Informing our patient group about studies is now, I feel, a part of my role.”

All professionals in clinical teams can have an important role to play in creating a research culture. It all starts with simple conversations.

Mary explains more: “It needs a team approach from all to ‘own’ and to show interest in research and a willingness to get involved. I think as a nurse, I initially did not really identify myself as having a role to play and that research was for the academics. The R&D Team made themselves known and I really think this helped in taking the ‘mystery’ away around research.”

Any colleagues interested to know more about research and how they can promote it within their service contact the research department at

Find out more about research on our Research website pages.