Sanniah Hussain

Professor puts focus on clinical academic careers

Research is the scientific building block to improve NHS services and improve patient outcomes.

But that doesn’t mean it is just scientists and senior doctors who carry out studies – nurses, midwives and allied health professionals also make a key contribution.

The Northern Care Alliance’s Chair of Nursing Professor Heather Iles-Smith, who has a joint role with the University of Salford, is leading the Trust’s work to develop academic nursing, midwifery and Allied Health Professionals’ career development.

This will provide a springboard for nurses, midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Pharmacists and Healthcare Scientists (NMAPH) to gain the skills and confidence to become research leaders.

Heather Iles-Smith

Professor Heather Iles-Smith

Professor Iles-Smith said: “Working with our academic partners, we are developing training opportunities that support a culture in which NMAPHs consider the application of research and innovation to be a core component of all roles, contributing to the development of a culture of continuous improvement. A key ambition is to develop a cadre of academic NMAPHs within the trust.

“The aim is that colleagues have the opportunity to engage with R&I and improvement activity in some way to benefit patient care, whether this be through using robust evidence from R&I to inform practice, involvement in supporting R&I projects, or leading their own programmes of research, innovation and/or improvement.

“Colleagues will be supported to lead on, and participate in, research, innovation and improvement projects that address local as well as national clinical needs.”

Professor Iles-Smith is a Clinical Academic Nurse who has gained significant clinical and research expertise working across a number of NHS Trusts and Universities in the North of England. Working with senior colleagues across the NCA, she has put in place a plan to spot emerging NMAPH talent, mentor and support existing and developing researchers, provide research skills development, and create research career pathways.