For many clinicians undertaking a PhD means choosing to either give up clinical practice for a period of time or studying on top of an already demanding full-time job. Now a partnership between the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) is making it easier for midwives to undertake a doctorate while still maintaining their clinical skills. The team has developed a novel joint studentship that will allow midwives to combine clinical practice with a research role, working across BU and PHT. The studentships will run for four years and PhD students will spend two days per week working as a midwife in clinical practice and three days per week working on their thesis. This set up facilitates the co-creation of knowledge.
In addition to providing the individual midwives with excellent education, these studentships are designed to examine an area of clinical practice identified by PHT where the evidence is lacking and research is needed. As a consequence the research studies will be directly relevant to practice and will have a demonstrable impact in the future. Hence BU will be able to show that its research and education have a direct benefit to the wider society. Finally, the studentships benefit midwifery practice by building a critical mass of researchers, which will help translate research findings into practice and so create a culture of evidence-based practice.
The result is a studentship that truly fuses research, education and practice.
The CMMPH/PHT partnership has developed three matched-funded PhD studentships for midwives, which will begin in September 2013. These joint PhD studentships will be supervised by both BU academics (Sue Way, Catherine Angell, Carol Wilkins, Maggie Hutchings, Edwin van Teijlingen & Vanora Hundley) and supervisors from PHT based in practice. We are excited about this novel approach to PhD studentships and hope that we will have many more studentships with other NHS Trusts in the future.
For further information please contact Prof. Vanora Hundley or Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.
This is a fantastic initiative. Are there similar plans for nurses wanting to maintain clinical skills while doing a doctorate?
I’m not aware of any at BU, but there is no reason why we should not develop some. I’d be very happy to discuss with anyone who might like to take that forward.