Research scholar set to explore the perspectives of Directors of Nursing on quality of care

Maggie Davies, who is an experienced qualified nurse, is studying for a Doctorate in Clinical Practice at the University of Surrey. She has been awarded a second consecutive scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation and will now be undertaking the fourth and final year of her thesis. The title of the study is: “The perspectives of directors of nursing in NHS Acute Trusts on caring practice, in particular, their impact on quality and compassionate care in the wake of the Francis Report.”


How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?

As a nurse I have known about the Florence Nightingale Foundation for some years as it has an impressive reputation. I was aware there were scholarships available for travel but I wasn’t aware of the research scholarships. I found out about this through reading some information on the Foundation website, so I was very lucky.

Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?

In recent years there have been a significant number of high profile exposés of undignified care, neglect and poor practice, which have been a catalyst for a searching debate into standards of care, practice and the nursing profession. It is vital that these key issues are seen as important for all members of the Board, as well as recognising the role of the Director of Nursing in assuring quality and safety. Little is known about the perspectives of Directors of Nursing in NHS Acute Trusts on caring practices, so I am hoping that this research will help to explore this area in more detail.

What are the aims of your research?

The overall aim of the research is to develop a theory to explain the perspectives of directors of nursing in NHS Acute Trusts on caring practices. In addition, it will also explore the social, political, professional and organisational challenges facing Directors of Nursing, and I will examine how they manage and respond to these challenges. The rationale for this research is two-fold; Directors of Nursing are in unique positions to provide professional leadership to nursing and care staff at NHS Trusts. Additionally, there is a gap in the literature for an England-wide study of the perceptions of nurse directors on caring practices.

What do you hope to achieve?

It is anticipated that this research will develop a theory to explain the perspectives of Directors of Nursing in NHS Acute Trusts in response to the current challenges of sustaining caring practices. The study will explore the potential impact of national drivers to improve standards of care, and the role of the directors of nursing in supporting these directives. Furthermore, it is anticipated that there will be greater understanding of the role of directors of nursing and the potential challenges they face to drive through proposed changes to care delivery. This will have the potential to impact on the improvements to the quality of nursing care by identifying drivers and enablers.

What method will you be using to conduct your research?

I will be using a grounded theory approach, using in-depth open-ended interviews with a sample of Directors of Nursing from Acute Trusts in England. I have ethics approval from the University of Surrey Faculty Health & Medical Sciences Ethics Committee to advertise for potential participants through the NHS England Chief Nurses Bulletin. If any Directors of Nursing would be interested in taking part I would be delighted to hear from you – please click here.

We will be blogging about Maggie’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing her results.

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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