Nicky started her career in Critical Care at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust on a general Intensive Care unit, during which she completed her post registration Intensive Care course for adults, BSc (HONS) Nursing Studies and Post Graduate Diploma in Education. During this time having specialist interest in obstetrics and paediatrics Nicky completed her shortened course in Intensive Care for Children.

Moving into higher education in 2008, Nicky has developed the post registration programmes in Critical Care, and Advanced Critical Care Practitioner for Adult Nurses, and acute care for midwives.
Remaining passionate about critical care education Nicky works with the Critical Care National Nurse Leads (CC3N) supporting the development of the National Standards for Adult Critical Care Education and the associated clinical competencies Step 1,2,3,4 and bespoke competencies relating to cardiac and obstetrics. In addition, Nicky has lead on the National competency framework for Nursing Associates in Critical Care.

Nicky was the first Student Experience and Retention lead in the School of Nursing and Midwifery developing induction and student voice feedback mechanisms. She has been affiliated with the BSc and MSc undergraduate programmes prior to developing Keele’s first apprenticeship programme in 2018; the FDSc Nursing Associate. In 2020, continuing with apprenticeship development, Nicky was part of the national trailblazer group for the Enhanced Clinical Practitioner standard and has since developed the Enhanced Clinical Practitioner BSc and Post Graduate Diploma for a wide range of healthcare practitioners, Keele remains one of the first HEI’s to deliver this occupational standard.

Nicky is a Senior Fellow with the Higher Education Academy and in 2022, following a rigorous internal process, Nicky was promoted to Senior Lecturer. Nicky was then appointed Director of Apprenticeships in the school in September 2023.

Nicky’s research and publications focus on moral distress, the critical care work environment, and curriculum design. She has presented widely about critical care competencies and apprenticeships. She is currently undertaking her Doctorate in Education with a focus on Critical Care nurses’ longevity in clinical practice.


The Clinical Education Centre
Keele University
Clinical Education Centre
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
Newcastle Road
Stoke on Trent

David Weatherall
Keele University
The David Weatherall Building