Breean Haslam

“You’re the reason we can do research.”

So I recently started at South Health Campus in the hepatology clinic. They hired me on to coordinate all of the research at their site. Currently we don’t have any research at our site. So it’s kind of a groundbreaking thing that we’re bringing it from the Foothills over here, and I’m glad I get to be a part of that.

So I’ve done research since I was in nursing school. Since I can remember. Everyone was kind of going out getting nursing attendant jobs while we were hardcore in the books, ’cause they [didn’t] want more book study stuff. And I didn’t want that. I kind of looked for other options, and I found research, and I fell in love with it. And it’s kind of taken me here. I didn’t realize there’d be an opportunity for me this early on in my career, but I’m so excited about it. This is exactly where I’ve always wanted to be.

Working in the emergency department, it’s adrenaline driven, it’s exciting, it’s thrilling. And you get to kind of do things right now, which is good. But I lost that love of it for the mere fact that I got to deal with these patients for a tiny sliver of their journey through whatever they were going through. And research… it gives me the opportunity to figure out how to help people in the future. It kind of gives me a broadened sense of what the patient is coming in for, what [they] and their families are dealing with, and how I can help them not just right now but maybe in years to come or even generations to come. It’s exciting.

Patients, for me, have the biggest role that they can play in research. And they may not be aware of that. So I have a lot of patients go, “What can I do?” Well, you’re the biggest part! You’re the reason we can do research. You’re the ones we’re looking at, that we’re collecting data around, that we’re hoping to help in the future. And a lot of patients will come to me and go, “Well, I’m just one person.” But you’re one person of such a big thing, and wouldn’t it be great to be a part of that?

Just knowing that, deep down, what you did could potentially help other people in your position years down the line… why not? And I think a lot of people don’t even realize that that’s an option. So what i’ve noticed here in Calgary is that the majority of patients don’t realize they can get involved in research. But when we tell them that they can, they get very excited, and they enjoy the feeling of being part of something bigger. And that’s essentially how I feel, too, as a nurse: you’re part of something more, something that could be down the line.