Vivien Mendoza first travelled from the Philippines to work as a nurse in the NHS over 20 years ago. For the past year Vivien has been one of three matrons at the NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility (CRF) in the Cambridge Clinical Research Centre (CCRC).
Vivien has been awarded the long service award for her 20 years dedication to the NHS here at Addenbrooke’s. In her own words Vivien told us about her time at CUH and more about her research journey.
“I arrived here in UK from the Philippines in October 2001. I started working in the neurosciences department in Ward A4 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital where I worked for eight years.
Towards the end of 2009, my job on the neurosciences ward was affecting my health. But I was in a job I loved, it was interesting and really fulfilling to help patients begin their road to recovery and I wanted to stay in my comfort zone.
A colleague from the neurosciences ward had moved to the Clinical Research Facility, in the Addenbrooke's Centre for Clinical Investigation and she encouraged me to apply and work with her.
At first I was hesitant, as I mistakenly believed that a research role would be purely paperwork. I couldn’t see myself doing such work as my passion is direct patient care and looking after people.
I finally decided to follow my friend and I put in my application and I was offered a job. I found my whole perception of what it’s like to work in clinical research was completely wrong and this is where my career in clinical research started and I love it.
Working in neurosciences, I felt like I was doing something really worthwhile and I feel the same way now in the Clinical Research Facility. Plus I still get to work with patients.
Getting involved in studies that might lead to a change in patient care or help improve the care given is truly rewarding.
My most challenging and exciting role was when I led the CRF Outreach Team during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. My team completed the service evaluation of the POC nCOV testing with the SAMBA platform and continued to support the COVID-19 Platform Trial. These experiences have helped me develop my skills further and led me to where I am now.
It is also important to me not to forget to thank the people that I’ve met along my CUH journey. My Ward A4 and D6-Neuro family have shaped me into the nurse I am today, they helped me build a strong foundation when I started working here away from my home country, for which I am so thankful. My gratitude particularly goes to Barbara Nierinck for mentoring me and pushing me to do my very best. My NIHR CRF Cambridge family, who have allowed me to develop to my full potential with the guidance of all staff regardless of their position, because learning comes from all levels not only seniority. Thank you also to Anne Elmer who has mentored me since 2011 and continues to do so today.