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Workforce and Practice Development

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The Workforce and Practice Development group engages in a range of high-quality research and innovation to inform education, professional practice, and workforce wellbeing. We come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to investigate and innovate across health and social care roles, professions and practice areas. 

Our research focuses on: 

  • Workforce education (pre & post-registration, continuing professional development, formal & informal learning)  
  • Practice innovation and development (roles & practices) 
  • Support for workforce wellbeing (tools, interventions & awareness) 

Ultimately, we aim to drive transformation in workforce education, training and practice development, to enable health and social care staff to meet shifting societal needs, respond to the changing professional landscape and optimise workforce wellbeing in order to deliver safe, person-centred care.  

The group works at national and international level across diverse areas including, Care of older people, Care homes, Critical and acute care, Community and primary care settings, Learning disabilities, Mental health, Midwifery and early years, Palliative and End-of-Life care. Drawing on pertinent methodologies and theoretical bases, our expertise includes: 

  • Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods designs 
  • Participatory, user-led and co-design approaches 
  • Evidence reviewing (systematic reviews, narrative and scoping reviews) 
  • Evaluation methodologies (including realist approaches) 

We have a strong focus on collaboration, working with a range of stakeholders including EU partners, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities, NHS Trusts and NHS England, undertaking a range of work including; primary research, practice development and innovation projects, exploration and evaluation studies, bespoke programme/initiative development, consultancy.   

Highlights include: 

Sharing Learning from Practice to improve Patient Safety (SLIPPS) Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and led by Professor Alison Steve, this award-winning programme (2016-2019 & ongoing) draws on health and social care students’ placement experiences across five European countries. SLIPPS developed a robust tool in multiple languages to gather student experiences and facilitate student reflective learning. A range of online resources from the study are freely available in the SLIPPS virtual learning centre.   

Exploring and understanding the scope and value of the Parkinson’s Nurse in the UK (The USP Project) Led by Dr Annette Hand and funded by Parkinson’s UK 2018 – March 2021, the USP project is using a realist approach to evaluate the role and evidence-base for commissioning Parkinson's Nurse Specialists and the cost-effectiveness of different models of care.   

Rapid Response Service Models in End-of-Life Care: What Works for Whom and in Which Circumstances? Led by Professor Amanda Clarke and Dr Joanne Atkinson and funded by Marie Curie, this study will commence in April 2021. The study will undertake a realist evaluation of Rapid Response models in end-of-life care and estimate their relative resource consequences through the ‘new normal’ context of COVID-19.   

For further information, please contact: Professors Alison Steven or Amanda Clarke.  

We welcome enquiries from potential doctoral or post-doctoral researchers, and other collaborators, interested in working with us.


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