When I considered writing this journal, I thought I’d record the most salient points of patient engagement in a research project beginning from my first meeting.
What a foolhardy decision that would have been! My journey as a Patient Advisor on a Research Team usually begins well before my group work gets underway.
What changed my approach? I draw a parallel story from my travel adventures. When I compare two recent adventures, a trip to Cuba and a trip to China, I realize those journeys did not begin at the airport, but actually started a year before I left home. I immersed myself in travel information just like you probably do….I gathered as much data as I could by thoroughly collecting and reading Fodor and Lonely Planet guides, YouTube, videos, histories, documentaries, factual information, you get my drift! I was prepared to travel before I entered those countries.
My message for patient advisors about to entertain their first engagement in a research study echoes my experiences travelling. “Look before you leap!” You must not wait until you enter China before you begin your research on that country! If you do, you deserve to be labelled as “addle-minded”. So why take that approach on a research assignment? My experience from several studies now shows that what I do early on in my journey will influence the entire scope and direction of my engagement.