Annual Report 2021 - Page 14



Successful treatments for cancer have resulted from clinical trials , enabling people to live longer and enjoy fulfilling lives . Ideally , all eligible individuals should be offered the option to participate in clinical trials . However , studies have shown that during the COVID-19 pandemic , patient enrollment on clinical trials has been significantly negatively impacted because of factors like delayed in-person healthcare visits and delayed cancer screenings , resulting in possibly late diagnoses of more advanced cancers . Expanding the ranks of advanced practice providers ( APPs ) in clinical research may be a viable way to improve clinical trials participation in the presence of COVID-19 .

As an APP , associate researcher , and oncology nurse practitioner at the UH Cancer Center , Christa Braun-Inglis , DNP , MS , APRN-Rx , FNP-BC , AOCNP , holds a hybrid position as a researcher and part-time clinician working with breast cancer patients at the Kapi ‘ olani Medical Center for Women and Children . She is also on a mission to recruit more APPs to be involved in clinical research .
APPs are nurse practitioners , physician assistants , clinical nurse specialists , and other licensed , nonphysician providers who are involved in the overall care of patients . As cancer treatments have become more complex and cancer patients are surviving longer , the need has grown for the specialized skills and knowledge of licensed nonphysician health practitioners such as APPS to be utilized outside the scope of cancer treatment .
APPs can have a significant impact in clinical research as they offer valuable perspectives that can enhance clinical trials , from increasing accrual to educating participants , developing and improving protocols , and providing feasibility analyses and scientific review . They can identify potential study participants , follow them on trials , and even enroll them as their own patients on studies related to symptom management and quality of life .
Braun-Inglis continues to embrace her mission to recruit even more oncology APPs who want to participate in clinical research as she inspires , mentors , educates , and helps train , and have them registered with the National Cancer Institute ( NCI ). Since 2018 , she has successfully recruited 10 oncology APPs in Hawai ‘ i who can now enroll patients onto clinical trials .
“ To become more involved in research , APPs must have a clear sense of purpose and understand the extent of their authority . They should be made aware of trials that may match their patients ’ needs and provided with the flexibility and freedom to work to their full potential ,” Braun-Inglis said .