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14.6 Case Study 4 Sarah Barber

Advanced Radiographer – Trials and Research

Career pathway

I graduated from Leeds University in 1999; I began working in Norwich soon after. I first become involved with Clinical Trials in 2003 and this became a more formal part of my role in 2008 when external funding from the Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN) was secured, this facilitated my role to be backfilled for two days per week so I could be released from clinical duties to focus on Clinical Trials within the Department. Initially this was very much a desk based role. A lot of time was spent implementing new trials within the department and ensuring that the QA was completed.

In 2010 the department secured funding for eight Advanced Practice roles, one being in Trials & Research.

A colleague has taken on my previous role which continues to be funded by the CLRN and this has facilitated me in taking a more patient focused approach to Clinical Trials.

Case presentation

Since being in post I have successfully completed 3 M-Level modules and the Advanced Communication Skills course hosted by NCAT. This studying has enabled me to obtain informed consent from patients who are participating in radiotherapy studies. This has reduced the workload for the Consultants and streamlined the trials pathway as I follow the patient through to randomisation, ensuring that all trial requirements are scheduled and completed in a timely fashion ready for treatment. 

We have also recently finished recruiting into our first official departmental study. Part of my role is to develop and encourage research to be done within the department suitable for publication. A research pathway is being developed to encourage everyone to put their ideas forward and ensure that what we are practicing is actually evidence based.

Future Aims

The aims for the future are to continue to develop departmental research and to publish our findings.

I am currently undertaking further M-level study and I hope to utilise this current module to enable me to start conducting on treatment reviews and eventually the follow up appointments for patients participating in radiotherapy studies. Patients who are participating in either departmental or national studies may require additional reviews for data collection or clinical reasons and it is important to have a pathway in place as well as an individual as a point of contact to ensure this group of patients is managed effectively.


There are two key components to my current role and as they develop I believe they may become separate roles in their own individual right. Feedback from conferences and meetings has shown that this is not a feature unique to my department, often the terms trials and research are banded together as one role. Although there are obvious similarities between the two roles, I believe in the future as each component expands they will need to become separate from each other in order to be able to develop each role to its full potential.

Sarah Barber

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