Senior research nurse awarded PhD studentship | Latest news

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Senior research nurse awarded PhD studentship

Shellie Radford is a Senior Research Nurse in the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. She has recently been awarded a PhD studentship which will see her investigate the use of Small Bowel Ultrasound scanning in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) outpatient clinics at Nottingham University Hospitals.

Tell us a bit about your background:

I graduated in 2013 from the University of Nottingham with a Nursing Degree.  Initially I worked on a Gastroenterology Ward and then in Critical Care at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH). I then moved into a Research Nurse role to gain experience in this valuable area of practise and to work toward a clinical academic career. During the last four years as a Research Nurse in the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre for Liver and Gastrointestinal Disorders, I have completed a Research Masters Degree. I have also progressed to be the sub-investigator on numerous studies, and the Principal Investigator on one large National NIHR Programme Grant Study.

What will the role see you do?

I will start my PhD studentship in October 2020 and I will investigate the use of Small Bowel Ultrasound scanning in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) outpatient clinics at NUH and test the feasibility of it becoming a cost effective and worthwhile test to perform in comparison to current MRI scan models. This will hopefully allow the IBD service at NUH to develop quicker, cheaper and less invasive monitoring techniques for people with Crohn’s Disease – a long term inflammatory bowel disease. 

Where will you be based/ who will you be working with?

I will be working within the NUH specialist IBD nurses team to develop this service. The studentship will be hosted by the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre- Liver and GI disorders theme. The studentship is a collaboration between NUH (Institute of Nursing and Midwifery Care Excellence), the University of Nottingham and the East Midlands ARC.

My academic supervisors will be Dr Gordon Moran, Dr Paul Leighton and Professor Jane Coad. Clinical Academic Mentorship will be provided by Professor Jo Cooper from the Institute of Nursing and Midwifery Excellence at NUH.

What are you looking forward to the most in this role?

I am looking forward to the opportunity to develop my research skills and to be supported by the supervision team and the clinical academic mentorship. This will allow me to gain further experience in working within the IBD speciality as well as developing my skills and knowledge to become more independent as a researcher, and hopefully a Clinical Professor of the future.  

What are your hopes for the future?

I am an aspiring clinical academic nurse. In the future I hope to work as a clinical academic  nurse specialising in the care of people with IBD , in this way combining the strengths of clinical and research leadership  to benefit patient outcomes for those who are living with IBD.  I would enjoy the opportunity to teach and mentor others who wish to pursue a clinical academic career or who would like to explore the IBD or gastroenterology speciality. 


How has the Institute of Nursing and Midwifery Care Excellence helped you to get to where you are now?

The Institute has provided me with guidance and reassurance. I had so many ideas and I knew I wanted to pursue a clinical academic career but I didn’t know where to start. Having access to clinical academic mentorship through the Institute has helped me focus my work, laying the foundations for  a clinical academic career through supporting me to successfully complete a Masters degree and now moving on to undertake PhD study.

The East Midlands Clinical Academic Career practitioner network has also been a great source of peer support and has put me in contact with several people working in similar areas or with similar kinds of research backgrounds.

How did you become interested in the research side of nursing/ how did you find out about it?

I have always been interested in research. I actively participated in research activities as an undergraduate nursing student. I enjoy spending time finding out why or how things happen a certain way, and if there are ways we can do them better.

Working in Critical Care I was aware of the DREEAM team here at NUH, and referred patients to several studies.

I have always had an interest in gastroenterology and as a student nurse, I used to walk past the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre on my way to lectures. One day I actively sought out more information about the biomedical research unit, as it was then, and from then on, I knew that if a job ever came up I would apply for it.

Research Nursing is not what I expected it to be. It is much better! It’s a diverse role where I have been able to grow and develop my own skills and progress to become more involved in the research I am working on. Being supported by the nursing team and the investigators to progress to undertake my own research has been wonderful.



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