Making research matter: Chief Nursing Officer for England’s strategic plan for research was launched yesterday. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Chief Nurse Avey Bhatia supported the launch through participation in an expert panel. The Strategic Plan sets out the CNO’s ambition to “create a people-centred research environment that empowers nurses to lead, participate in, and deliver research, where research is fully embedded in practice and professional decision-making, for public benefit”.

At the launch on 22 November, our Chief Nurse Avey Bhatia joined a panel of other experts, including Patient and Public Involvement panel member Alero Dabor, who is a patient expert at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

In her talk, Avey spoke about the work at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to encourage and highlight nurse-led research. She also spoke about how research will be key to the new Trust Nursing and Midwifery Strategy when it launches in 2022.

Nurse and midwife led research projects at Guy’s and St Thomas’ include:

  • COVID-Nurse study led by Consultant nurse Fiona Hibberts as a local PI
  • Research on the rare disease trimethylainuria led by senior research nurse Krzysztof Rutkowski
  • Work on preterm birth care pathways by research midwife Naomi Carlise, who is undertaking an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship
  • A study exploring cleft palate and infant feeding developed by staff nurse Carmen Li who was successfully awarded an NIHR Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship
  • Authorship of a number of papers about psoriasis care and research by nurse consultant in inflammatory skin disease Lucy Moorhead.

There are a number of initiatives across the Trust working to highlight and embed nurse-led research.

An internal internship programme managed by the Nightingale Academy has provided 11 clinical nurses and midwives with an opportunity to develop their own research proposal as first step on a research career path. These include a proposal exploring the experiences of parents and siblings who have experienced end of life care by retrieval nurse practitioner Jo Davies, and one exploring the impact of healthcare environments on patients and staff, developed by neurofibromatosis CNS Rona Inniss.

And we are part of the NIHR’s 70@70 programme, with our Matron for Clinical Research Naomi Hare, who is NIHR 70@70 Senior Nurse and Midwife Lead.

Chief Nurse Avey Bhatia said: “Nurses have a huge contribution to make to research, and it’s really inspiring to see the work our nurses are already doing to establish best practice for care through research. The new Strategic Plan for research recognises that value and places research at the heart of nursing, and nurses at the heart of research to improve care for patients.

“I want nurses and midwives to be involved in and to support research. I also want for they themselves to have the time and support to lead research as Principle Investigators. This will help us to research more areas of nursing practice and to improve nursing care.”