Prestigious Florence Nightingale Scholarship for Keele lecturer

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Posted on 24 October 2011

Nursing lecturer Claire Rushton has been successful in gaining a prestigious Florence Nightingale Research Scholarship.  The Florence Nightingale Foundation provides nurses and midwives with scholarships for research, leadership and travel.  The Research Scholarships provide up to £5,000 for study at home or overseas to promote and disseminate innovation in practice and extend knowledge and skills to meet changing healthcare needs and improve patient care.

She will be using the funding award for her PhD programme. It will enable her to attend the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to receive training in advanced epidemiological analysis and to undertake a training project on heart failure polypharmacy supported by the Health Services Research Unit.

Since joining Keele in 2002 she has maintained an honorary contract with the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and currently spends clinical time in a nurse-led congestive heart failure clinic. Through the time spent in the heart failure clinic she has developed a keen research interest in comorbidity and polypharmacy as experienced by patients. With the supervision and support of Dr Umesh Kadam (Senior Clinical Epidemiologist) at the Health Services Research Unit at Keele, she has developed a research protocol for a PhD study on the topic of comorbidity in Heart Failure patients. 

Recently at the UHNS, a Health Foundation SHINE grant has provided the funding for a heart failure admission prevention and early supported discharge clinic to provide comprehensive care on an outpatient basis avoiding the need for inpatient admission. This innovative practice includes rapid assessment for patients who are acutely decompensating, daily specialist nurse reviews and pro-active drug titration to optimise pharmacological therapy.

The titration of heart failure drugs however is often complicated by increasing age and high levels of comorbidity and polypharmacy inherent in this group. The training project, underpinned by the academic training component and supported by the Florence Nightingale Scholarship, will provide new knowledge relating to the impact of multiple drug regimens on optimal prescribing and drug titration for heart failure patients and provide me with the necessary experience and skills to embark on a PhD focusing on the clinical course of heart failure in older populations. The findings will facilitate the local specialist review of clinic patients in order to improve practice and ultimately, the patient experience of care.