Improving inhaler use for arthritis patients during summer research project
Pharmacy student Yasmin Kafaei Shirmanesh tells us about her summer research project on the use of inhalers by people with rheumatoid arthritis.
I learnt a lot about the process of completing a research project and ways to collect and analyse data
An interest in respiratory disease
Before starting the project I was involved in a different project on cystic fibrosis treatment, so I already had an interest in respiratory disease. That project was lab based, and I was keen to take part in research that involved speaking to patients.
The project involved recruiting a large number of patients and control groups observing them attempting to use inhalers and measuring their peak inhalation rates. I analysed large amounts of collected data which I used to write a scientific report. I also presented my findings at a conference on campus and at a national Health Service Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference.
Listening to stories
The main challenge I faced was finding participants with rheumatoid arthritis, which I did by attending national rheumatoid arthritis society (NRAS) support groups in locations throughout the South West.
I enjoyed speaking to people affected by rheumatoid arthritis and hearing their stories of coping with the condition. Many of them were pleased to hear that this research was taking place because they had experienced difficulty using inhalers.
Analysing the results
I also enjoyed the analysis of the results and seeing what recommendations could be made because of this work. I learnt a lot about the process of completing a research project and ways to collect and analyse data.
My supervisor gave me a lot of support during the project as to what was the best way to find participants, what sort of data would be useful to collect, how we should collect the data and the analysis after.
Plans for the future
During the final year of my course, I will be spending a semester in Sydney to complete my master’s project. This will be focused on improving inhaler device design, so what I have learnt from doing this project will be very useful.
After graduating I hope to complete my pre-registration year in a hospital and eventually be able to get involved in more research.
This project was funded by the Bath Institute for Rheumatic Diseases. The results of Yasmin’s work will help to ensure that patients are given an inhaler they can use first time.