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Nurses and midwives awarded £3m from the NIHR Research for Patient benefit programme across 16 projects

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Published: 16 May 2024

The NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme has funded a series of new awards to support nurses and midwives. The awards have been made through the under-represented disciplines and specialisms highlight notice. £3 million has been awarded across 16 projects.

The RfPB programme has a strong track record of supporting practitioners, at an early stage of their research careers. The aim of the call was to boost the number of nurses and midwives applying for research funding. The call received a huge amount of interest from the nurses and midwives communities. These communities are being encouraged to continue to apply to regular RfPB funding calls, alongside applicants from other under-represented disciplines and specialisms such as methodologists.

Professor Kevin Munro, Director of the Research for Patient Benefit Programme said, “Researchers with a background in nursing and midwifery are almost half as likely to lead RfPB-funded projects than other healthcare professionals.This highlight notice had the dual aim of enriching the RfPB portfolio with projects developed and delivered from a greater diversity of perspectives, as well as to strengthen the careers of nurses and midwives at an early stage of their research career.”

Professor Ruth Endacott, NIHR Director of Nursing and Midwifery said, “We need nurses and midwives to bring their expertise to the leadership of research studies. Their perspective is crucial to the future of research and we’re really excited at the response this call has had, and the potential for truly life-changing research led by this community of healthcare professionals.”

16 funded projects led by nurses and midwives

The 16 projects funded within the nurses and midwives highlight notice include research into end-of-life care, ambulance services and neonatal care:

  • Co-producing a safety planning toolkit to support adults experiencing self-harm and suicidality. 
  • Updating patient debriefing guidelines and support for patients in mental health settings who have received restrictive interventions. 
  • Developing an intervention to improve the assessment and care of the sexual health needs of men with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Exploring ways to improve end-of-life decision making, care and support for patients and their families in intensive care units. 
  • Studying the barriers and opportunities to use digital health interventions for children under 5 who experience sudden illness. 
  • Testing an online platform to support patients to manage pain symptoms following breast cancer surgery. 
  • Exploring how to trial a fatigue self-management programme for people who survive admission to intensive care units. 
  • Designing smart digital tools for faster diagnosis of heart failure. 
  • Developing a training tool for newly qualified midwives to help assess and manage tears that occur during childbirth. 
  • Exploring how to improve anal cancer care services for people living with HIV. 
  • Co-designing an intervention to help promote patient independence through self-management of fluid drainage around the lung. 
  • Co-creating an online peer support community for family member carers of people with dementia. 
  • Testing a tool to better identify pressure sore injuries in hospitalised children with darker skin tones. 
  • Investigating the use of ambulance services during pregnancy or after childbirth to better understand the care and support needed for women and babies in the North West. 
  • Exploring how to determine how often babies in neonatal care units should be bathed to reduce their risk of getting infections. 
  • Understanding how patient self-monitoring meets the needs of people who have completed treatment for breast cancer, to improve support for people from under-served groups. 

The RfPB programme has developed a series of these highlight notices that link to the NIHR strategy. The aim is to strengthen the careers of researchers in under-represented disciplines and specialisms. This is also part of a wider NIHR investment to enable more healthcare professionals to include research in their careers.

Regular RfPB funding calls continue to welcome applicants from under-represented disciplines. You can get the latest NIHR funding news and details of new RfPB funding opportunities delivered to your inbox. Sign up to our monthly Funding and Support newsletter and weekly funding alert bulletin.

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