So today is a very exciting day, because today is a day I have wanted to write about for months but couldn't since it was all very hush hush. For the past couple of years I have been working with colleagues, who soon became friends, to create a program that can support emotional well-being in early years
It's an area where universal, normalised support is limited bordering on non existence and yet would be so beneficial. The program took the best of clinical science and combined it with the realities of parenting and the expertise of media to try and make something that could have an impact
Fast forward 3 years and as I write I am on a train to our kick off production meeting! We are thrilled to have been funded for a feasibility trial, to see if we can replicate the results we achieved in previous small studies. It's been no easy road to funding the trial though
I say it often and I'll say it again, I am first and foremost a registered mental health nurse, and I love what I do. I don't so much love paperwork and there is a lot of that involved in getting funding!
To any nurses out there who are considering going for grant funding however don't be put off, like most aspects of what we do, practice and repetitions hones the art of a grant bid.
Finding a funding grant can often be the first hurdle. Sign up to as many grant giving bodies as you can such as NiHR, innovate UK and welcome trust so you can receive regular updates on pots of money that are being made available for clinical development and research.
The next major step is picking the right grant. They are a bit like shoes. You can't just grab the first one that comes along, the flashiest looking or the one with the best label. Oh no, you have to look for the best fit, the most comfortable for you. Grants come in all shapes and sizes for different aspects of research at different points of development. Applying for a grant where you don't fit the criteria is just a great way to get keyboard cramp.
Once you've found the body and the right grant writing the bid can feel daunting. I remember opening my first bid to feel completely overwhelmed by some of the question asking language like did I was exponential funding (?). Googling phrases became a go to habit and I was shocked at the number of questions and the sheer time that went in to applying. As a girl who liked to do her uni essays in a night the length and breadth of these forms was a little scary.
However now I slip into those questions like a comfortable coat. Why? Because I have applied for five grants in four years. The most important thing anyone told me when I got that first rejection note was not to give up, that even the best of ideas can take several rounds of funding applications to even get through the next round. They were absolutely right. Every time I applied I scored a little higher, went a round further. I learnt more about project management expectations, Gantt charts and finance forecasting. Now when I look back at the first application I made and the one I have been awarded I am astounded by the difference in quality...I still feel like the same nurse trying to do something a little fun and different but I can see how much I have learnt on a journey that's only just begun.
So my trains pulling in at Liverpool street now and I have a kick off meeting for the most exciting 10 months of my career which means time for the blog to end, but if you have an idea, think you can make change, don't give up, your moment is still in the making