Revalidation articles

Practice-related feedback: Published paper proves value of innovative student support

Alison Finch, lead nurse for nursing and midwifery revalidation, reflects on the value of supporting students to develop clinical-academic careers

Alison Finch, lead nurse for nursing and midwifery revalidation, reflects on the value of supporting students to develop clinical-academic careers


Alison Finch says seeing a thoughtful and ambitious nurse at work helped other staff
nurses to gain a greater understanding of clinical-academic careers.

I was sent a published academic paper that had been written by a newly qualified children’s nurse who I had supported in her first job.

To me this was written feedback and a testament to the success of an innovative approach to supporting clinical academic nursing careers at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

It began when the nurse’s university contacted me to ask if I would consider developing a new role and framework with them. It involved a three-year rotation in the children and young people’s cancer service on a part-time basis while the nurse completed a PhD.

Sense of opportunity

What we went on to develop was one of the trust’s first clinical academic frameworks for a graduate nurse.

I did not think much about this at the time, it just seemed a great opportunity to collaborate. But I now realise it was an example of helping nurses to develop clinical academic careers, which is important at UCLH.

Some nurses were quite vocal about a doctoral student working at the bedside. But I learnt that seeing a thoughtful and ambitious nurse at work helped other staff nurses to gain a greater understanding of clinical-academic careers and created a sense of opportunity.

Changed perceptions

This feedback has influenced my practice by providing a tangible way of promoting visible research that has a direct impact on patients. It has encouraged me to support others to consider this pathway and demonstrated that junior staff can change the perception of the importance and accessibility of research.

The experience relates to the area of the Code on practising effectively, as I was supporting nurses to use the best evidence. It also involved promoting professionalism and trust, as I demonstrated a commitment to this nurse and the advancement of the profession.

Finally, it showed preserving safety. As a newly qualified nurse this PhD student also needed to consolidate her training and build her competence as a registered nurse, which was facilitated by the framework.

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