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The Department of Nursing Midwifery and Health undertakes research to inform policy and practice relevant to the healthcare workforce, improving the quality, safety and effectiveness of nursing and public health practice in hospital and community contexts, and informing innovation.

We seek to address major questions faced by contemporary healthcare including how to respond to the needs of an ageing population; how to prepare staff and services to deliver safe, high quality, patient-centred and compassionate care, and how to develop and deliver efficient and effective services that improve health while giving value for money.

The majority of patients in hospital and in the community are over 75 with the average age of hospital patients being over 80. As life expectancy lengthens, the proportion of older people needing care is increasing. This trend is set to continue as people aged 85 and over are the fastest growing age group in the UK. Dementia is now the leading cause of death in UK. Over a quarter of the population in England has a long term (chronic) condition (LTC) and an increasing proportion of people have two or more long term conditions. The NHS Five Year Forward View notes that ’long term conditions are now a central task of the NHS’. For a significant number of people, old age brings frailty and that often means living with more than one long-term medical condition.

Nursing and healthcare are provided in a complex and rapidly changing environment, as services are transformed to meet new aspirations and objectives. Innovations in provision are essential, and understanding whether and how they work is important. Professionals also encounter many vulnerable /hard to reach/ marginalised groups, and researchers have a role in highlighting needs and developing appropriate service responses. Members of the Department work closely with the MDRT for Integrated Health and Social Care to address these and related issues. Members of the Department are also part of the Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research, which focuses on improving the health and social wellbeing of veterans of their families.

Research is grouped around three key themes:

  • Caption: Professor Glenda Cook with robotic seal used to improve quality of life for people with dementiaAgeing, later life and long term conditions (ALL)
    ALL examines the experience and impact of conditions including dementia and the needs of older people with complex health and social care needs. Current projects include work looking at older people and technology and support relating to end of life and long-term conditions.
  • Healthcare Organisation, Practice Improvement and Economics (HOPE)
    HOPE has focused on responses to the Francis, Keogh and Cavendish reports, to examine how organisational culture and public involvement, influence the delivery of safe, effective compassionate care. Other recent work relates to critical care staffing, improving quality of life for cancer survivors, and ways of improving wound care.
  • Healthcare Education and Learning for Practice and Patient Safety (HELPPS)
    HELPPS encompasses research across the educational continuum (from pre-qualification through to CPD and life-long learning) and pertaining to a range of healthcare roles and professions. The groups’ interests span educational themes including: Pedagogic / Andragogic focused research, work-based / practice-based learning and experiential learning, education for specific roles and learning trajectories and journeys. Current funding from Erasmus+ and GNC supports cutting edge research which draws on practice and the often unheard voice of the student and patient. We research topics such as inter-professional education, the journey from student to professional, professional knowledge development, translation and normalisation.
  • Patient Safety and Quality - research and innovation
    We have wide-ranging expertise in research, innovation and education and for patient safety and quality. This expertise supports cutting-edge professional education and practice development.

    Our staff are experts in their fields, which include: professional education for quality and safety, human factors, medical emergency teams' rapid response systems, organisation culture and leadership, and the inclusion of the patient and student voice. We have worked collaboratively with a range of stakeholders including multiple EU partners, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the British Medical Association, NHS Trusts and NHS England.

    Overall our research seeks to address questions regarding the preparation and development of health care professionals and the translation of professional knowledge both into and out of practice.

Postgraduate Research Opportunities
The Department hosts visiting academics with relevant research interests from the UK and worldwide, including ongoing links with colleagues in Germany and Australia. We work closely with many partners across the University and beyond, including clinicians, managers and commissioners in the National Health Service; charities and service user groups; other universities in the UK and elsewhere; national and international Nursing groups.

We can host secondments or internships linked to specific projects and support a substantial number of PhD candidates. Prospective PhD students, people interested in secondment or interns interested in working with us should make informal contact with Professor Pauline Pearson or Dr Cathy Bailey to discuss your interests. We have a series of partnerships with local NHS trusts to develop collaborative research projects and occasional funded doctoral and postdoctoral opportunities. We are always enthusiastic about exploring new partnerships and collaborations.

For an example of the type of research undertaken by our Professional doctoral students, click here.

For further information about the opportunities available, visit the Graduate School.


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