Category Archive Research


Get the flu jab, get flu safe!

As frontline healthcare staff we would like to help you protect your patients, family, friends and colleagues by getting an annual flu vaccination. As you are a frontline healthcare worker your GP may provide you with a free flu vaccination. Some of our client Trusts may also provide you with a free flu vaccination as part of their vaccination programme for their permanent staff. Alternatively, at a small cost, you can also get your flu jab from supermarkets or your local pharmacy.

Flu viruses are constantly changing and every year different flu viruses can spread. Getting vaccinated against the flu every season protects against the main influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness in that season.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that can result in time off work and in certain individuals, may lead to serious complications. Anyone can get the flu and vaccination is the single best way to protect against it. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends.

So remember to get your vaccination as soon as possible and get flu safe!

For more information, please visit the NHS Website.




Tweetfest, Learning and Collaboration

This is my second in a series of three blogs (@ClaireW_UK) and in my first I mentioned that I had completed my MSc nursing Studies (through which NHSP provided funding for my Florence Nightingale Foundation Research Scholarship @FNightingaleF). I am delighted to say that my dissertation study article has now been accepted for publication (my first publication as Mrs Whitehouse, as I was married in January 2016) in the Nursing Standard (date tbc).

Wedding photo.PNG

#WhyWeDoResearch Tweetfest

At the end of my last blog we were entering the realms of International Clinical Trials Day and I told you about the #whywedoresearch twitter campaign ( ), & specifically about hosting the world’s first research tweetfest.

Tweetfest advert FINAL.png

Over the past 18 months I have begun to understood the power of SoMe, however I don’t think I truly appreciated the power of #whywedoresearch until tweetfest happened. We joined forces with the fantastic @wenurses team who are well known in the SoMe arena & from whom we have learnt a lot over the years. They provided some statistics and wordclouds from the five days of tweetfest.

WeNurses Stats of ICTD week

The engagement and support from #whywedoresearch followers across the world was and is something I just can’t put into words. We’ve even had a couple of #whywedoresearch voices shared by NASA…


The over-arching themes raised within tweetfest were;

  1. Patient and public involvement in research
  2. Education and support
  3. Geographical collaboration and use of SoMe
  4. Children and Young People in Research


A huge number of participants during the week were patient and public followers…in my opinion, SoMe has got to be the way to go for easy engagement and involvement with everyone in the future; why wouldn’t we as researchers engage with this platform? We’d be mad not to.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all patents, participants & volunteers who have ever been involved in research, and also the fabulous chat leads for their efforts. Since tweetfest our overall numbers of impressions on #whywedoresearch has rocketed & really do show the incredible reach and voices!

Overall stats

Michael Keeling (my right-hand #whywedoresearch colleague) & I filmed a thank you video, you can watch this here

Believe it or not, this was just one week in the past month and was outside of my professional role as #whywedoresearch is a voluntary endeavour, so alongside this I was working full time, it was busy…busy & exhausting but brilliant and exhilarating!

On site at JPUH

  • Cancer service

My main focus in the past few weeks has been supporting our cancer research service as we have recently taken over this area with a stand-alone service. We now have a fantastic team of four staff; Senior Clinical Research Nurse for Cancer (Lucinda), Clinical Trial Practitioner for Haematology (Corbin), Clinical Research Support Officer (Jackie) & a new Data Manager who is joining the team this week.

  • Health Research Authority changes

Those of you involve in research will be aware that there is now a new approvals process in place which commenced in April of this year. Our R&D Department (led by Jo Lucas, Research Management Co-ordinator) have been working fantastically hard to develop templates and all sorts for us to use in support of this process. I had previously created a gold-standard flow-chart alongside Helen Nutt (Clinical Research Nurse) which described the process from expressing an interest in a study, all the way through to undertaking the first patient visit. This required revisions following the approval changes therefore Jo and I met last week to look at how we could incorporate the changes to our old flow-chart and are now booking training with the team to ensure communication of the approach we will use from now on.

  • Paediatrics

I’ve been working on some paediatric and neonatal trials the past couple of weeks and it’s been a fantastic learning experience. Our paediatric research nurse, Ally, is brilliant and all her files were ready and waiting for me so that I could see every visit requirement – fantastic robust research supported by fantastic teams without a doubt. We have a number of paediatric diabetes and obesity trials @JPUHResearch & offering these to families on Ally’s behalf has been a pleasure. Two sets of parents in the neonatal unit volunteered consent for a Vitamin K study and one for the ELFIN study – having chatted with them, it certainly seems that altruism is a big thought in their decision about participating in research. You’ll be pleased to know, all babies are doing well.

Advanced Research in Practice (ARIP)

The ARIP course was designed and is delivered by experienced research nurses within CRN:Eastern (with a core steering group of myself (@ClaireW_UK – @JPUHResearch), Esther Thomas (@079esther – @NIHRCRNEastern), Jon Hassler-Hurst (@DiabResNurseJon – @IpswichHosp) & Debbie Campbell (@debbcam66 – ColchesterNHSFT). We were joined by a fifth facilitator this year, @adelecooper310 – @NNUHResearch).


It is hosted as a three-day residential event with the purpose of supporting nurses, midwives and other research delivery personnel who are working towards, or have recently entered, team leader positions. Facilitated sessions focus on the RCN Research Nurse Competencies covering four domains: background and political influence, research ethics and legislation, application and promotion of the principles and practice of valid informed consent, applying knowledge and skills to facilitate efficient, safe and participants focused clinical research.

This year’s course can be viewed using #ARIP16 and here’s a shot of the wonderful participants following a fabulous session by Christine Allen, CEO, @JamesPagetNHS (@callen_jpuh)

ARIP Group photo.PNG

This is one of my favourite courses of the year! Every year participants surprise and delight those of us who are facilitating. It puts people outside of their comfort zones and supports them to challenge & influence, as well as having really good fun! Of course we ask delegates to complete formal feedback forms however we also ask for one take-away point from each participant at close-of-play on day three…we captured these on a flip chat & they are hugely powerful – this is why I love this course!

Flip chart

Blog 3

Next month will be my final blog for NHS P & I haven’t decided what it’s focus will be yet…every day in this job is different and lots of amazing things happen all the time so I think I will wait and see…then surprise you…


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.


Georgia Bercades researches hospital anaemia in critically ill patients

Georgia Bercades blog

Georgia Bercades, Clinical Research Nurse at University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship to undertake a study for her MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London, which she started in September 2014. Her study is titled ‘A study into hospital anaemia in critically ill patients.’ We spoke to Georgia to find out a bit more about her project.

How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
The Centre for Nurse and Midwife Led Research at UCLH has been encouraging Nurses and Midwives to apply for higher education. Through them, I came across information about the various scholarship foundations, which led me to apply for the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship.

Can you give us an overview of what your research entails?
Many intensive care unit (ICU) patients require blood transfusion during their illness. The frequency of blood testing is one factor that contributes towards causing anaemia to critically ill patients. Anaemia is a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or of haemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness. I aim to identify the causes of anaemia in critically ill patients and examine the relationship of blood transfusions. I want to develop a standard of care to reduce iatrogenic anaemia (anaemia caused by medical examination or treatment) that may necessitate blood transfusion.

Critically ill patients need constant blood sampling to monitor their hemodynamic status. This will include arterial blood sampling, blood glucose monitoring and laboratory testing.  Because of their condition, the frequent blood sampling can lead patients to become anaemic. There are ways to reduce the amount of blood sampling, which can save patients from receiving blood transfusion. For example, in-line arterial line sampling, smaller tubes for laboratory tests and blood sampling frequency.

What is the purpose of your research?
I am doing a part time MSc in Advanced and Health Care (Nursing) at the City University London. The MSc Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care provides healthcare professionals working in clinical and social care advanced research training to conduct and evaluate research to understand and improve service delivery, quality of care and patient outcomes.

Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?
I have been an intensive care nurse for the last six years and have been working as a research nurse in the intensive care unit at UCLH for the last four years. I have been involved in clinical trials, both observational and interventional, funded commercially and / or by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). I was interested in becoming an investigator of a nurse led research, which led me to my proposed research topic.

What do you hope to achieve?
• A reduction in the cost of materials involved in blood testing and arterial blood gases;
• A reduction in workload for nurses, physicians and laboratory technicians;
• A change in clinical practice; and standardisation of care.

How will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
Receiving a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship is a great learning opportunity. It has given me confidence and courage in aiming for higher educational opportunities, which I can now encourage other nurses to do.

I hope this nursing led research can inspire fellow nurses to find new and effective ways in delivering patient care. I also hope to be a role model to nurses, encouraging them to aim for higher educational achievement.

We will be following Georgia’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing the results. Thank you to all the scholars who took the time to speak to us.


Rachel Clarkson researches views of patients and nurses on the management of ankle fractures using an AV foot pump


Rachel Lisa Clarkson, Research Nurse at South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship to fund the study for the final year of her master’s degree. The study is titled ‘What are the views of patients and nurses on the management of ankle fractures using an AV foot pump?’ We spoke to Rachel to find out a bit more about her project.

How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
I first met Professor Elizabeth Robb at the South Tees Nightingale Awards in 2014 when I presented ‘A day in the life of a research nurse’. She approached me and suggested I apply for a scholarship to fund the final year of my master’s degree.

Can you give us some background about your research?
A large proportion of ankle fractures require surgery, which cannot take place in the event of excessive swelling due to an increased risk of infection and the wound breaking down. Reducing swelling to an acceptable level can take up to five days with the patient in hospital, placing a substantial burden on inpatient beds, finances and distress for the patients. Available literature indicates AV foot pumps are effective in reducing swelling, however anecdotal evidence indicates a high percentage of patients are found to be non-compliant but, at present, there is no research exploring why.

A study allowing this patient population and the nurses caring for them, to speak through semi-structured interviews will benefit this area greatly, potentially decreasing the number of in-patient beds, finances and most importantly the patients themselves.

What do you hope to achieve?
I hope to have a better understanding of what the problems with the foot pumps are so that procedures can be adopted to help the patients become compliant. This could result in an increase in the number of available hospital beds and have a positive impact on finances and patients’ quality of life while in hospital.

What research methods will you use to achieve your objectives?
I interviewed four patients and four members of staff through semi-structured qualitative interviews between May and July 2015 and the research is now at the data analysis stage.

The interviews were not as I expected. They were a lot shorter than I imagined but my biggest surprise was how, at times, I felt torn between my role as a researcher and my role as a nurse. For example, when one patient was not compliant with the device and the ward staff were unaware of this; my instincts as a nurse were to inform the medical team treating him. However, the interviews were confidential so, in order to overcome this problem, I spent some time educating the patient on the device and eventually he was able to tolerate it.

Will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
I believe the scholarship not only offers financial help but also introduces the scholars to like minded individuals who can assist with publications and encourage further research.

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


Gregory researches what influences critical care staff to consider engaging with relatives about organ donation following end of life decisions


Gregory Paul Bleakley, Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing and Health at the University of Bolton has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship for his Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care at the University of Salford. As the UK observes one of the poorest organ donor rates in Europe, Greg researches ‘What influences critical care staff to consider engaging with relatives about organ donation following end of life decisions.’ We spoke to Greg to find out a bit more about his project.

How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
It was through the programme lead for my Professional Doctorate at the University of Salford in May this year. I wasn’t having much luck with funding but I thought I might as well give it a go as it looked like a good option.

Can you give us an overview of what your research entails?
I am trying to find out what motivates staff to consider engaging with potential donor families. When there is a patient at the end of life, normally in intensive care, decisions are made to stop life-sustaining treatment. My research explores the experiences of critical care staff regarding organ donation following end of life decisions.

About 5,000 eligible patients die in the UK in circumstances where they could have donated organs and have potentially saved lives. There are currently around 7,000 patients on the active transplant waiting list. Each year, 1,000 of those patients, three people every day, die because no donor is found. It has also been found that forty percent of families still decline the option of donation. This forty percent refusal rate represents the single greatest barrier in providing more lifesaving transplants. Through previous research, we know some of the reasons why families may be declining but have very little evidence based research and knowledge about early conversations critical care staff have with the donor families, which could be a key factor in the decision.

I also want to find out what motivates clinicians to have a conversation about organ donation with the families. Some support the concept of organ donation while some have more difficulty and discomfort talking about it.

Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?
I had been a specialist nurse in organ donation for nearly 10 years. My role was to meet families at difficult times and provide them with the information they need to make the decision regarding organ donation. Even though the UK has seen a massive increase in the number of families saying yes to organ donation over the last eight years, that has only been because we are asking a larger number of people. The one thing that didn’t change over that period was the family refusal rate, stubbornly fixed at about forty percent. I am intrigued why this is and intend to look in detail to what motivates staff to consider engaging in conversation about organ donation with the families.

What research methods will you use to achieve your objectives?
It is a qualitative piece of research, using semi-structured interviews. The actual research questions have been constructed with the support of a donor family, bringing the service user to the forefront of the study.

What do you hope to achieve?
I want to know what motivates staff to engage with potential donor families. I think it’s about establishing a therapeutic relationship between the family and the critical care staff as there are many questions and awkward conversations to have at that difficult time. Research has been done on why people refuse organ donation and it suggests that the timing of the approach and where it’s made is crucial.

By interviewing critical care staff, I aim to get a better understanding about why relatives are declining organ donation. From this research, I will create a template or protocol for the best ways of engaging with families that will hopefully lead to more families agreeing to organ donation. Once this is agreed, more organs can be donated to those on the transplant waiting list, in order to save more lives.

Will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
I worked for the NHS for 19 years and have now moved into the academic world so I think it will certainly help. More importantly, investigating why forty percent of families decline organ donation will hopefully save more patients on the organ transplant list.

Finally, I would like to thank NHS Professionals for the support, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

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