Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust Clinical School

The Clinical School at Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust exists to promote evidence-based practice and clinically-focused non-medical research that enhances patient care.

A partnership between the Trust and the University of Plymouth, the Clinical School encourages and supports 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.

We are working at two levels; one to change the ethos, strategy, culture and infrastructure to help support research activity and also with individual staff to support them to increase their research skills and knowledge.

Together with the support of the trust and individual staff, we aim to:

  • increase research activity and enhance research opportunities to improve service delivery and patient outcomes
  • increase the capability for nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals to develop practice-based research
  • assist the transition of registered healthcare professionals to research leadership roles located within clinical settings
  • support the production of innovative ideas to enhance clinical practices within healthcare.

Who do we work with?
We link with research and development, education, quality improvement, researchers in residence, clinical effectiveness and the executive board.
How can we help you?
We work one day a week at various locations within the trust. We are happy to come and meet you and/or your team at a convenient time. We can discuss your practice development ideas, research questions, searching for the evidence, applying for grants, applying for ethical approval and really anything linked to research or improving practice.

<p>Deborah Kelly, Chief Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust<br></p>
“We are very proud of our partnership with the University of Plymouth which has proven to be instrumental in driving a greater level of participation of front-line clinical staff in research. This partnership has enabled the organisation to begin building the crucial foundation of research into practice. 

“As we develop our Health and Care Strategy, 'Building a Brighter Future', a key objective will be to ensure that the organisation is continuously improving and innovating models of care, all of which must be underpinned by a robust platform of innovation and research. Investment and support for Nursing, Midwifery and AHP professionals to progress research is essential to health care delivery now and pivotal in shaping our future. 

“The research award cannot be overstated and will serve as a key enabler in the organisation’s transformation journey, ensuring that current and future professionals will be well placed to inform and navigate the realities of change.”
Deborah Kelly
Chief Nurse, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Clinical School Leads

<p>Mary Hickson</p>

Mary Hickson

Mary is co-director of the Torbay Clinical School. She is a registered dietitian and Professor of Dietetics. Her research interests are nutrition support, nutrition and ageing, nutrition care in the acute setting and across care setting boundaries, frailty and sarcopenia, and dietetic practice. Mary has also spent a large proportion of her career supporting and mentoring other allied health professionals to develop their own clinical academic careers, apply successfully for NIHR (and other) fellowships, and creating training and educational opportunities for these people.

<p>Susie Pearce</p>

Susie Pearce

Susie is a registered nurse and her research interests include: patient and professional experience, multi professional team working, and integrated models of care; innovative methods of practice based research, including longitudinal qualitative, visual and psychosocial methods; developing care in cancer, end of life, and other life limiting and long terms conditions; and the development of cultures of compassionate, effective and safe care.

Clinical School Leadership Group

<p>Chris Dixon</p>

Chris Dixon

Chris is the Trust Lead Research Nurse and National 70@70 Senior Research Nurse Leader. She is responsible for ensuring the growth of research activity within the Trust and managing the clinical research team. Chris is determined to embed research into clinical services by supporting staff to develop clinical academic roles to improve patient outcomes. Chris is also a Clinical Research Advisor for the Torbay Medical Research Fund and is proud to hold the position of Honorary Research Fellow with the University of Plymouth.

<p>Rich Collings</p>

Rich Collings

Rich is a team lead podiatrist, specialising in biomechanics of the foot and ankle. He recently completed his PhD, which focused on reducing diabetic foot ulceration by offloading. Rich is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth and is a member of the Balance Enhancement Ulcer Prevention (BEUP) team, whose aim is translating and implementing research into clinical practice. Additionally, he is on the Royal College of Podiatry’s Research, Development and Innovation Committee and the Co-Allied Health Profession’s research champion for the South West.

 

Research Fellows and Associates

As part of the team at Torbay we have an ever growing group of clinicians working to progress as clinical academics. The Fellows are working towards their doctorate and the Associates are planning to apply for doctoral funding in the future. In the list, we show their profession and the scheme that is supporting them now or has previously.

Honorary Research Fellows

  • Harriet Hughes (Physiotherapist); Torbay Clinical School Doctoral Fellowship
  • Corinne Lindsey (Nurse); Torbay Clinical School Doctoral Fellowship
  • Kathryn Bamforth (Physiotherapist); Torbay Clinical School Doctoral Fellowship
  • Rachel Rapson (Physiotherapist); NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellowship

Honorary Research Associates

  • Vanessa Kavanagh-Shapp (Podiatrist); Torbay Clinical School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Stephanie Janka-Spurlock (Nurse); Torbay Clinical School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Sarah Pavior (Physiotherapist); NIHR Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship
  • Jen Williams (Podiatrist); NIHR Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship
  • Becky Stride (Radiographer); Torbay Research Associate
  • James Bruce (Occupational Therapist); Torbay Research Associate
  • Abi McWhinney (Midwife); Torbay Research Associate
  • Joan Redome (Nurse); Torbay Research Associate
  • Angie Foulds (Nurse); NIHR (CRN) Clinical Research Associate
  • Justine Tansley (Podiatrist); NIHR Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship
  • Claire Morgan (Occupational Therapist); NIHR/HEE Internship

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

Publications

Effect of different durations of using a standing frame on the rate of hip migration in children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy: a feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial

To assess the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effect of different doses of standing time on hip migration rate in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

R.Rapson, T.King, C.Morris, R.Jeffery, J.Mellhuish, C.Stephens, J.Marsden, Effect of different durations of using a standing frame on the rate of hip migration in children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy: a feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial, 29 January 2022

Defining usual physiotherapy care in ambulant children with cerebral palsy in the UK: A mixed methods consensus study

Ambulant children with cerebral palsy (CP) undertake physiotherapy to improve balance and walking. However, there are no relevant clinical guidelines to standardise usual physiotherapy care in the UK. A consensus process can be used to define usual physiotherapy care for children with cerebral palsy (CP). The resulting usual care checklist can support the development of clinical guidelines and be used to measure fidelity to usual care in the control groups of trials for children with CP.

<p>Mary Hickson &amp; Susie Pearce</p>

South West Clinical Schools

The South West Clinical Schools are a collaboration between the University of Plymouth and the NHS, working with nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals at all stages of their clinical and academic development.

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 develop the research led by non-medical health professionals. To meet these needs, we have invested in clinical schools, which are professorial-led centres, in five of our local NHS trusts. The main focus for the clinical schools is to encourage health professionals to look at their practice, challenge current thinking, try out new ideas and work out ways to measure what they're doing.

Find out more about the South West Clinical Schools

<p>South West Clinical Schools logo</p>