Date: 31 October 2019
Frazer Underwood, Associate Clinical Professor / Consultant Nurse in Integrated Services for Older People at Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust, is one of 70 Senior Nurses and midwives from across the UK to feature on the 70@70 Leadership Programme. The NIHR-funded three year programme has been running for 6 months (since launching in May 2019) and champions research and innovation and drives improvements in future care.
The programme is part of a cultural shift across the workforce to embed research into everyday work. As a result of being involved in the programme Frazer now has two days a week protected time to create capacity to accelerate and promote the importance of research.
“Research is visible in the clinical workforce but limited. Exposure needs to increase and some dedicated time is needed to make it more visible and feel real,” he said. “I’ve been promoting my clinical academic role with staff to raise the awareness of research in practice and promote the benefits to patients, such as getting involved in Join Dementia Research. So far it has been positively received.”
A Collaborative Research Network
Frazer was talking at a meeting in Plymouth where the four 70@70 Champions from the south west region were joined by Lead Research Nurses/ Practitioners and Allied Healthcare Professional Champions to find out about the work that is happening across the region by the group so that all organisations benefit from the work.
Frazer describes the benefit of working together across the region and on the prestigious national programme: “We benefit from being connected to national networks. It’s inspiring to meet others and share what we are doing. We learn so much and we gain new connections with influential colleagues. It opens opportunities to take questions from colleagues ‘on the ground’ to show and demonstrate to others what’s holding them back, these could be research questions to career opportunities. Giving real world examples through these ‘case studies’ allows me to share their voices nationally, their experiences become impactful. I now have opportunity to add their voice to discussions, to give practical examples to shape new ideas about much needed solutions.”
A Busy First Six Months
Since the program’s launch, Frazer has been meeting with his colleagues in the Trust to ’talent spot’ the clinical academics of the future and identify people doing ‘incredible things in the Trust’. He sees his role as ‘connecting the dots’ and by working collaboratively he is linking expert staff with decision makers. He aims to show what is possible in his Trust and demonstrate that this important work helps staff recruitment and retention, and raises the profile overall.
“Being a 70@70 Champion allows you to be an advocate for what the research challenges on the front line is like. The position gives recognition that you’ve been selected into a privileged position that recognises strong clinical and academic credentials. I have felt listened to since commencing and have started to make some positive changes and [in the next six months] I will pursue these themes:
Six months since launch the 70@70 Programme is already bringing leaders from a range of backgrounds together to strengthen the research voice and influence of nurses and midwives in NHS provider organisations. Together with their colleagues, they will drive real change across research systems. As Frazer says: “My colleagues are interested in the best evidence-based practice and bringing their benefits to patients.”
Find out more about the 70@70 Champions in the South West:
Your Path In Research
If you are interested in starting or furthering your career in research then there’s support and information available to you. Visit Your Path In Research to discover resources designed to support any healthcare professional with an interest in research.