From Research to Scholarships & Back Again

Hello everyone, I’m Claire Whitehouse (nee Gibbs) (@ClaireW_UK) and I’m delighted to have been asked to write a series of blogs for NHS Professionals. For this, my first blog of three, I would like to set the scene with some background…

Professional role

I am Lead Nurse for Research at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (JPUH) (@JamesPagetNHS / @JPUHResearch) and have been in post for four years, supporting staff & patients, and with a focus on developing and expanding our team. The aim has been taking on more studies in order to offer patients more opportunities to participate or be involved in research. I lead the clinical delivery side of the research and development team which includes nurses, midwives, AHPs, non-clinical support assistants and administrators, as well as supporting other multi-disciplinary professionals across the Trust.

Team photo (2)

I am an NIHR GCP facilitator and regularly teach across Clinical Research Network: Eastern including being a core steering group member on the flagship Advanced Research in Practice course. I instigated the design of a Research Programme within JPUH, which we believe is the only of its kind in the UK.

Please see the JPUH Research Programme Poster here.

At JPUH, we are running 112 studies across numerous disease areas; these are a mixture of interventional, observational, commercial, academic and student studies. We are currently looking to offer research in areas which have previously been research inactive, with a view that all patients will be offered the opportunity to participate in research should they meet the study criteria.

I am also an Associate Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (@OBU_nursing) where I teach distance learning multi-disciplinary courses, & focus on evidence based practice and advanced research design modules.

Link with NHS Professionals

I was awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation (@FNightingaleF) Research Scholarship in 2014 which was kindly funded through NHS Professionals. The FNF support a number of scholarships which are open via annual application to nurses, midwives and AHPs. Full details can be viewed here


The research scholarship funded my MSc Nursing studies dissertation. I was absolutely delighted as this meant I was able to complete my course. My entire MSc was funded through a number of scholarships & this is something I am very proud of; scholarships are out there if you are willing to a) look for them and b) put yourself outside of your comfort zone. I would not have been able to self-fund the course, therefore without the support from FNF and NHS Professionals I would not be sitting here today with those three small letters after my name. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank NHS Professionals, the support you have given me is invaluable. Following this, I was promoted from Senior Clinical Research Nurse to Lead Nurse for Research at JPUH.

You can see my Research Scholarship poster here: Research Scholarships poster 2014


“Student nurses experience of research whilst on clinical placement” was the title of my primary research, multi-centre, qualitative research dissertation study and involved interviewing pre-registration nursing students about their experiences of research whilst on their placements.  The results were assessed using thematic analysis and five main themes emerged; visibility, mentor influence, University, Placement culture and student mind-set. To view a poster of the results please see below. Suggestions provided by the students involved were taken back to the NHS Trusts and the University – the majority of these have been implemented already which is fantastic.

Please see my dissertation poster here: SNERP poster 2016


I created #whywedoresearch in 2014 as a Christmas campaign to raise awareness of research within our local area using social media, specifically twitter, as the platform for engagement. Within four days it had reached a National level and (having decided to continue the campaign) within four weeks it was global having reached Australia and Canada. The premise is simple; you write the reason you do research onto a piece of paper then take a photo holding your placard. You then upload to twitter using #whywedoresearch in the tweet text. The photograph below was one taken at this year’s Cancer Research UK Pretty Muddy event (I’m on the left).

Claire and Gemma Pretty Muddy 2016 (2)

Since its inception, #whywedoresearch is now in 22 countries world-wide, has >80 MILLION impressions, 34 local ambassadors and >6,000 separate accounts involved. It was also a top eight finalist in the Nursing Times Awards Clinical Research Nursing category 2015 (from 74 entries). The campaign is run entirely voluntarily & now has seven collaborators globally who help to steer the campaign direction. To find out more about the campaign please visit our website and watch our official campaign video

As part of International Clinical Trials Day 2016 (20th May) we hosted the world’s first ever “tweetfest” – a week long schedule of tweetchats hosted across the world continuing the campaign’s vision of raising research awareness and opportunities to patients, public and staff.

My second blog for this series will provide a review of the #whywedoresearch tweetfest and follow some of my patient visits. In the meantime, have a wonderful month.

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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