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OUH clinical staff awarded funding for research skills training

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Thirteen Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and research practitioners have received funding to develop skills that will support them to research new and improved ways of delivering healthcare to patients and service users.

In total 26 professional development grants worth £73,000 were awarded by the Oxford Academic Health Partners (OAHP) as part of its Research Development Awards Scheme for healthcare sector professionals who are typically underserved by funded development opportunities in clinical research.

The OAHP partnership comprises OUH, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and the Oxford Academic Health Science Network.

Commenting on the scheme, the first to be run by the partnership, OAHP Director Professor Keith Channon said: "This highly competitive awards scheme is supporting nurses, midwives and allied health professionals across the OAHP who aspire to develop and lead evidence-based quality improvement projects in their speciality, so they can acquire the research skills and expertise to drive forward innovation in our NHS services."

Sam Monks, Physiotherapist Team Lead for Neuroscience Critical Care at OUH, has received £2,240 for a health research methods course at Oxford Brookes University. Sam will research how best to provide rehabilitation for patients with acquired and traumatic brain injury and assess the possibility of developing guidelines to move towards gold-standard care.

"Following a traumatic or acquired brain injury, the road to recovery can feel like an uphill struggle. There are currently no guidelines regarding how often and how much rehabilitation these patients should receive, and as a result, there is a wide range of the intensity to which these patients receive rehab," Sam explained.

Working across Oxford’s academic and NHS organisations, OAHP is dedicated to expanding the region’s capacity for health and care innovation, improved training and cross-sector research, with a priority to develop clinical academic pathways for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

The OAHP Research Development Award Scheme is jointly funded by the Oxford Academic Health Partners Charity, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Oxford and Thames Valley.

Applications to OAHP's 2022 Research Development Award Scheme were judged by a panel consisting of:

  • Dr Cathy Henshall, Oxford Brookes University and University of Oxford,
  • Professor Eila Watson, Oxford Brookes University,
  • Dr Karen Bell, NIHR Oxford BRC,
  • Karen Barker, Oxford University Hospitals and University of Oxford
  • Professor Helen Walthall, Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford BRC.

Among the motivations for this initiative are that research evidence drives improvements in the quality of care provided to patients and service users, while research-active healthcare organisations tend to see better patient outcomes, report higher levels of patient experience, and have better staff recruitment and retention compared with those who are less research active.

Across England, the culture and support to include allied health professionals and other frontline workers in clinical research programmes is lacking. The Research Development Award Scheme takes steps to address this, supporting the development of a research culture that is inclusive of all professionals and patients.

The OUH staff who received an award are: 

  • Meamui Lubinda, Research Nurse – Direct Delivery Team Breast Clinical Studies. PGCert in Clinical Research Delivery, Newcastle University.
  • Weronika Aleksandra Rabsztyn – Treatment and Research Radiographer. Data Analysis and Interpretation Module, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Katie Hard – Lead Diabetes Nurse. Funding towards Professional Doctorate in Nursing, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Rachel Lee – Senior Specialist Nurse, Palliative Care Team. Funding towards PhD exploring meaningful advanced care planning in the frail elderly population, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Zoe Miles – Occupational Therapist in Hand Therapy. Research into the management of hand trauma, and research methods training, University of Derby.
  • Kathryn Lubasch – Principal Genetic Counsellor. Research project investigating the relationship between mental health and clinical outcomes for inherited cardiac conditions, with development of plans to translate findings into clinical practice.
  • Leila Heelas – Consultant Physiotherapy Practitioner, Pain Rehabilitation. Realist Reviews and Realist Evaluation Course, University of Oxford.
  • Sam Monks – Team Lead Physiotherapist Neuroscience Critical Care. MSc module and workshop to support scoping project for research in the field of brain injury.
  • Gabriele Abu Eid – Clinical Research Nurse, Radiology. Planning and Managing Clinical Trials Course, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Mary Quirke – Advanced Nurse Practitioner. Funding towards Professional Nursing Doctorate, Oxford Brookes University, with research on diagnosis and management of Myasthenia Gravis.
  • Liliana Cristina Da Silva Rodrigues – Cardiovascular Research Nurse. Part-time Nursing Doctorate (1 year funding), Oxford Brookes University.
  • Mary Lucas – Research Coordinator, Nuffield Department of Medicine. Planning and Managing Clinical Trials Module, Oxford Brookes University.
  • Sarah Brown – Programme Implementation Manager NIHR ARC OxTV and Orthoptist, OUH. Courses on Healthcare Evaluation and Research Impact, University of Oxford, and creating sustainable change, The Centre for Implementation.

See the full list of awards on the OAHP website.