FNF scholar begins second research scholarship into student nurses experience of research while on clinical placements


Claire Gibbs a Senior Clinical Research Nurse at James Paget University NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk has been awarded a research scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation for the second time. The first was in 2010 when she applied for funding to undertake a post-graduate certificate in research methods at King’s College London when she was working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. This time she is using the scholarship to undertake research into ‘student nurses experience of research on clinical placements.’

To read more about Claire’s previous research please click here>>

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

I found out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships through a simple online search – it was the best search I’ve ever done! I was told that I could apply again and having moved on to undertake a full MSc Nursing Studies (Clinical Leadership) at Oxford Brookes University I knew my dissertation would fit the research scholarship criteria so I decided to give it a go and was delighted to be successful.

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

I am a Senior Clinical Research Nurse and am extremely interested in researching nurse capacity and roles within the NHS. I also enjoy engaging with pre-registration students in their research before they qualify as nurses. Previous research has looked into student nurses experiences of university research modules; however, no research has been conducted into their experiences while they are on placement or associating this with the so-called ‘theory-practice gap.’

What are the aims of your research?

The primary endpoint of this study is to investigate student nurses experiences of research on clinical placements and to find out what the positive aspects are as well as what the barriers to learning could be.

What do you hope to achieve?

I am hoping to begin the evidence base for supporting student nurses to experience more practical research on placements. I also want to develop the hub and spoke model of learning where students on a placement, perhaps on a stroke ward for example, will spend time with a stroke research nurse or team member to enhance their practical understanding of the role.

What methodologies will you use to achieve your objectives?

I will be undertaking semi-structured qualitative interviews for this project with up to eight participants from one university and across two NHS Trust sites – the sample size is limited so that I can complete the study within the desired time and will act as a pilot to a larger study following completion of my dissertation.

Has the scholarship made a difference to your career?

I am extremely grateful for the scholarships I have received. Without them I would not have been able to complete the course. I am delighted to be able to complete my MSc fully funded through different charitable scholarships. The doors that are opened following a scholarship should definitely not be underestimated. It has had a huge impact on both my professional and personal life and I will always encourage people to apply because you never know what you can achieve until you put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

What opportunities has the scholarship given you?

As a result of these scholarships, I have published a number of articles, been promoted professionally, spoken at international conferences, been interviewed on BBC Radio, made a huge number of new contacts, grown in confidence and even carried Florence Nightingale’s lamp along the aisle of Westminster Abbey at the 2012 commemoration service.

We will be following Claire’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing the 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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