South West Clinical Schools

What is South West Clinical Schools?

South West Clinical Schools is a collaboration between the University and the NHS to encourage nurses, midwives and other allied health professionals to look at their practice, challenge current thinking, try out new ideas and work out ways to measure what they're doing.

Our work with local health services has identified the urgent need to capture improvements in patient and family outcomes, as well as ensure that existing evidence is used to best effect and increase the amount of research led by non-medical health professionals. 

To meet these needs, we have invested in the clinical schools, which are professorial-led centres, in five local NHS trusts.

Main objectives:

  • Develop capacity and capability for clinical research, evidence-based practice and quality improvement activity.
  • Support the nursing, midwifery and allied health professions' leaderships within the trusts.
  • Embed a clear clinical academic career path to assist the transition from undergraduate student through newly registered health professional to research leadership roles located within clinical settings.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery and the School of Health Professions are both involved in the South West Clinical Schools, and the staff work beyond the boundaries of these five trusts to support activities in the communities as well.

News

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Events

7th South West Clinical Schools Convention: Moving Research Strategies into Clinical Practice

4 May 2022, 9.15 - 15.45, Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

The nursing, midwifery and allied health professions' declaration to implement strategies to make clinical academic careers a reality.

The five South West Clinical Schools of the University of Plymouth and the five affiliated NHS Trusts are hosting the 7th South West Clinical Schools Convention. This year we will focus specifically on research implementation strategies in clinical settings. We are consolidating the experiences of the past seven years of our Clinical School activities.

South West Clinical Schools Leads

Clinical School successes

Harriet Hughes, Physiotherapist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust 

Harriet is the latest recipient of the Torbay and South Devon Doctoral Research Fellowship. Harriet has just completed the pre-doctoral award and is now ready to begin her PhD. Her work aims to improve mobility in children with cerebral palsy. 

Harriet will be studying Functional electrical stimulation (FES) as a way to improve knee straightening and walking speed. FES is an electrical pocket device that trains muscles whilst walking, so the child can take part in activity on their own. 

A group of children with cerebral palsy and walking problems will use the device for 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, over an 8-week period, and Harriet will monitor what benefits it brings. If it works well it could be incorporated routinely into physiotherapy treatments for such children in the future. Harriet’s award will fund her time and fees to undertake a PhD at the University of Plymouth, where she will join the Rehabilitation Research Group under the supervision of Professor Jon Marsden.

<p>Harriet Hughes, Physiotherapist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust<br></p>

Harriet Hughes

The award is funded by the Torbay Medical Research Fund and Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust.

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Dr Rich Collings, Podiatrist,
Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust

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Dr Rich Collings, Podiatrist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust

Rich has recently gained his doctorate where he studied the use of in-shoe pressure measurement in the design and optimisation of insoles to reduce the risk of foot ulceration in people with diabetes. More recently he has been awarded a SW Integrated Clinical Academic post-doctoral bridging award, which will support backfill for two days a week for seven months from his NHS position. He plans to widen his skills and experience in engaging and involving patients with diabetes in research, leading to developing an application for further funding for research into foot ulcer prevention.

Dr Joanne Paton and Professor Anne Maree Keenan will support his clinical academic career development. The award is funded by HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic scheme.

Vanessa Kavanagh, Podiatrist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust

Vanessa has been awarded the Torbay and South Devon Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship, which will support her for one day a week for one year to prepare to apply for doctoral level fellowship funding. 

Her work aims to improve outcomes after bunion surgery, a very common surgical procedure to relive pain, by examining foot pressure and ensuring it is evenly distributed. 

She has identified that there is a lack of research in this field and hopes to develop a proposal for a trial to test her ideas about improving treatments. 

During her year’s fellowship she will undertake some formal masters level modules in research skills, attend the British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society annual conference, discuss her ideas with patients to get their perspective, and carry out preliminary evaluations of foot pressures in this patient group.

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</p><p><b>Vanessa
Kavanagh, Podiatrist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust</b></p><p></p>

Dr Rich Collings will supervise Vanessa and her work will support her clinical service. She will undertake masters modules at the University of Plymouth. The award is funded by the Torbay Medical Research Fund.

Stephanie Janka-Spurlock, Dementia Education Specialist, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust

Stephanie has also been awarded the Torbay and South Devon Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship, which will support her for one day a week for one year to prepare to apply for doctoral-level fellowship funding. 

Her work focuses on improving dementia care in care settings, particularly looking at the provision of meaningful activities and social interactions. 

These activities were very badly affected during the pandemic and this triggered the idea to examine in more detail how this has affected clients and how access to activities and social interaction can be improved in the future. 

Dr Susie Pearce, (Associate Professor Nursing) and Professor Ray Jones (Professor of Health Informatics) from the University of Plymouth, and Dr Rhoda Allison (Associate Director Nursing and Professional Practice) of Torbay Hospital, will provide supervision. 

She will undertake masters’ modules at the University of Plymouth. The award is funded by the Torbay Medical Research Fund.

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Stephanie Janka-Spurlock
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Stephanie will undertake a masters-level module, join Professor Ray Jones’ research team to get more exposure to and experience of research, carry out some preliminary data collection mapping activities and interactions occurring with current patients, and talk to people who work with patients with dementia to help plan the future doctoral study.

Kate Taylor, Dietitian, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust

Kate has been awarded a Clinical Research Network Research Associate Award which provides her with one and a half days a week for a year to gain further research experience. 

Kate will work with the Clinical Research Team at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust and Devon Partnership NHS Trust to support NIHR portfolio studies with recruitment, eligibility screening, gaining consent and baseline questionnaires. 

She plans to present her previous research at a conference and write up this work for publication. 

She will also spend time working on a NIHR pre-doctoral fellowship application to support her next step towards completing a PhD around combined dietary and exercise interventions in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia amongst older adults.

<p>Kate Taylor, Dietitian, Royal Devon &amp; Exeter NHS Trust<br></p>

Professor Mary Hickson, Professor of Dietetics at the University of Plymouth, will provide mentoring. The award is funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (South-West peninsula).

James Bruce, Occupational Therapist, Intensive Care Unit, Torbay & South Devon

James has been awarded a Clinical Research Network Research Associate Award, which provides him with one day a week for six months to gain research experience. 

James will use this time to observe the Clinical Research Team at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust to understand NIHR portfolio studies. It will also give him the opportunity to broaden his knowledge base of research techniques including attending short courses. 

He hopes to complete a qualitative service development project using focus groups of discharge ICU patients to explore their information needs to support their discharge. 

It is hoped this project will influence practice in our unit and the wider ICU rehabilitation community. He is also using the time to complete an observational project exploring what functional outcome measures track patients' functional journey post-critical illness. 

<p>James Bruce<br></p>

The award is funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (SW Region). Mary Hickson, Professor of Dietetics at the University of Plymouth, will provide mentoring. The award is funded by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (SW Region).

Joan Redome, Senior Research Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust

As a senior research nurse, Joan looks after the rheumatology research portfolio at Torbay Hospital. She is also the lead nurse for BADBIR, which is a dermatology study, and the RECOVERY trial, which has made significant contributions to COVID-19 treatment or management. 

Joan was recently awarded the Torbay Research Associateship, which will allow her one day a week for six months to work with the Torbay Clinical School and develop a clinical academic career.

Joan will be attending workshops and seminars to improve her knowledge of writing her own research proposal. 

Her service development project will involve producing a rheumatology research newsletter to see how this helps increase patient referrals from the clinical team, thereby increasing recruitment to research trials. Dr Susie Pearce (Associate Professor of Nursing) and Dr Rich Collings will provide her supervision.

<p>Joan Redome, Senior Research Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust FP<br></p>

The award is funded through the 70@70 scheme via the R&D department at Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust.

Linking research with practice

Balance Enhancement and Ulcer Prevention in Diabetes

A feasibility study to inform the development of a large scale, multi-site, randomized controlled trial to investigate the clinical effectiveness of a new instant insole solution for people at risk of diabetic neuropathic foot ulceration to instantly modify and optimise plantar pressure. The ultimate aim is to reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcer (re) occurrence.

Richard Collings, NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship Researcher

Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) model of evidence-based healthcare

JBI's approach to evidence-based healthcare is encompassed in the JBI Model of Evidence-based Healthcare.

The University of Plymouth is a Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Centre of Excellence, of which Bridie Kent is director. The JBI framework is a gold-standard for all aspects of evidence based healthcare, including all stages of healthcare research and is designed to improve healthcare practice and health outcomes.

Find out more about the Joanna Briggs Institute

Innovations in Patient Care and Quality (ImPACT) Research Group

South West Clinical Schools aims to address issues encountered by health professionals at any stage of research. This is achieved at a local and regional level, with outputs also targeted to conferences and journals with a national and international reach. The research activities are conducted through the Innovations in Patient Care and Quality (ImPACT) research group.

<p>IMPACT Research Group</p>

Graduate perspective

Paola Moraes, MClinRes Clinical Research

"The most exciting experience I had on my course was presenting my dissertation at the 2020 online South West Clinical Schools Symposium and having my research topic considered the one that generated the most discussion. Getting this feedback from acclaimed and experienced researchers was such a boost of motivation to carry on in the research path."

<p>Paola on campus</p>