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In 2023, we awarded 110 education grants to nursing and midwifery professionals across the UK. These grants can make a real difference, not only to your development, but also to the health and wellbeing of the public, and the care they receive.

Hear from previous grant recipients and find out more about what they have achieved: 

Ben Bowers

Dr Ben Bowers

Ben is a clinical academic community nurse, specialising in palliative and end-of-life care. He is a Wellcome post-doctoral research fellow with the University of Cambridge and a practicing Honorary Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care. Ben now leads an interdisciplinary programme of research with the University of Cambridge.

About Ben

In 2023, Ben featured on the Nursing Times impact list of 75 nurses and midwives who have contributed significantly to the NHS.

Ben is passionate about supporting community nurses to use research to enhance person-centred care. He is also keen to advocate for patients and informal caregivers by improving their knowledge on key end-of-life care intervention. Through innovative end-of-life research, he has improved patient and family care – something which has been a goal of his for a very long time.

Our support

Ben has been awarded three RCN Foundation education grants which have supported his PhD research and the production and dissemination of three research papers. 

Through this research, he has presented his work at conferences and had his work published in journals such as the British Medical Journal, Palliative Medicine, Nursing Older People, Cancer Nursing Practice, Primary Health Care and Nursing Standard (to name a few!). 

On receiving the grants, Ben states that carrying out his research has “has improved my skills in undertaking sensitive research interviews and analysing multi-voice views and experiences of dying care. They have helped me in becoming a more skilled nurse researcher and has added to my patient advocacy skills. Being able to do the research has really helped my confidence and has laid the groundwork for getting my own research funding in the future.”

Published work

Ben’s most recent research paper has just been published and is available to read online.

For access to Ben’s published worked, please see below:

Midwife with instrument

Beth, Specialist Midwife

Beth is a Specialist Midwife for Monogenic Diabetes and has recently completed a prescribing module at the University of Surrey. This module has prepared Beth to be a safe and effective independent prescriber.

About Beth

Prior to starting the course, Beth was working as an integrated midwife, working in both community and hospital settings. Beth applied for funding from the RCN Foundation to undertake an Independent/ Supplementary Prescribing Module Course, which enabled her to become a specialist midwife for diabetes. This has subsequently led Beth to work for the South East Genomics Medicine Service Alliance (SE GMSA) as a specialist midwife for monogenic diabetes, embedding testing for monogenic diabetes within the existing gestational diabetes pathway.

The course not only prepared Beth to prescribe but also equipped her with knowledge about ethics, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, adverse drug reaction and drug interactions.

Career development

In becoming an independent prescriber, Beth is able to give a more comprehensive level of service to pregnant women with gestational and pre-existing diabetes, preventing delay obtaining medication when doctors are unavailable. She has found that she can also give a more holistic level of service, in assessing diagnosing and treating conditions as they arise in pregnancy.

Significance

After completing the course, Beth has found that being able to prescribe has improved her ability to assess what my patients needs in a timely and efficient manner. She feels the service for her patients has improved, preventing delays in treatment, whilst also relieving some of the pressure on her colleagues. In her own words, "without the grant, I would not have been able to advance my career and become a specialist midwife. It has been the catalysis to further my career and has inspired me to hopefully complete a masters in the future."

Nurse smiling on ward with clipboard

Maya, Mental Health Nurse

Maya is a registered nurse and mental health nurse, currently working in the specialist mental health team in Somerset, supporting young people with moderate to severe mental health needs. She is also training to become a Systemic Family Therapist.

Funding

Having always been interested in mental health and supporting others, Maya applied for an RCN Foundation education grant which provided funding for her to attend the International Nursing Research Conference and present her research project titled “The experiences of Service users attending the ED for a mental health crisis”.

Maya's research highlighted the importance of tackling compassion fatigue in clinicians, improving trauma informed care, and further addressing the gaps in services in order to improve the experiences of service users with mental health needs and continuing to work towards an integrated care model. Presenting at the conference signified to Maya the importance and power that research can have in improving patient care and that research is a powerful tool to influence the system and create much larger systemic changes in the NHS to further benefit patient care.

Impact  

By presenting at the conference, Maya has developed her skills, improved her confidence in public speaking and her ability to deliver presentations. Through sharing the findings of her research, she hopes that this will contribute to a better understand of service user’s experiences of mental health care in a general setting and in particular, in emergency departments, and is encouraging colleagues in the field to work towards improving this through the recommendations set out in her research.

Words of encouragement 

If you are considering applying for an RCN Foundation education grant, Maya said the grant "was able to support me to attend the International Nursing Research Conference which was an amazing learning experience for me and something I otherwise would not have been able to do. I would 100% recommend the RCN Foundation if you are looking for some financial support to access learning."

Jodi

Jodi, Forensic Nurse Examiner

Jodi is a Forensic Nurse Examiner, working in a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nottingham. She qualified as a nurse after returning to university as a mature student and is a busy mum to three boys.

Career

Jodi started her career working in an Emergency Department (ED), following in the footsteps of her Granny, who worked in the same ED 20 years earlier. Jodi quickly discovered that she was passionate about advocating for patients. She worked on an improvement project, looking at how the ED experience could be improved for patients presenting with mental health needs. After completing secondments as Safeguarding and Domestic Violence Specialist Nurse, Jodi secured her role as Forensic Nurse Examiner at a SARC. Jodi says, ‘I initially wanted to become a Forensic Nurse Examiner working within sexual offences because of my passion for advocating for, and supporting those who, for one reason or another, didn't have their voice’.

Course

With funding from the RCN Foundation, Jodi completed a Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) training course. Through this course, Jodi learnt how to support young people in building healthy relationships, developed confidence in talking openly and sensitively about sexual health issues, and learnt ways to discuss the impact of technology on relationships with young people. Jodi can now apply the latest RSE guidance in her practice, ensuring that patients receive a thoroughly holistic experience. If patients require further support and education, Jodi can signpost them to the appropriate service.

Impact

This experience has led Jodi and her team to be able to support wider external agencies such as local universities and colleges with their own education packages, using the team’s unique knowledge of sexual offences and applying their skills in a manner that is relevant and in-keeping with recommended RSE guidance.

Jodi says, "without the bursary, I would have not been able to undertake the course. The course has greatly improved my knowledge of ways to engage people in those important yet uncomfortable conversations. Undertaking the course has increased my passion to support education of the public in relation to RSE." As well as allowing Jodi to provide the best care to patients, the course has also assisted Jodi’s professional development; "I believe this additional qualification supported my promotion to SARC manager."

Jodi enjoys working in a niche area of nursing and she finds it a privilege to work with clients, seeing the immense difference the service makes to patients. Jodi is passionate about RSE education, for both her patients and the wider public. To share her knowledge with people working with or supporting young people, Jodi runs a social media account - give her a follow to learn more!

Chloe Neonatal Sister

Chloe, Neonatal Sister/Neonatal Risk and Governance Lead

In 2023 we awarded Chloe, a Neonatal Sister working in West Yorkshire, a grant towards a Trauma Informed Care module. Chloe says that from a young age, she "always had a calling for being a nurse", dressing up with a stethoscope and thermometer, and obsessively watching Casualty and Holby City." After qualifying as a registered nurse, Chloe worked in an emergency department and community palliative care before moving into the neonatal intensive care environment.

Trauma-Informed Care

In the high-stakes environment of a neonatal unit, where families are often grappling with uncertainty and stress, adopting a trauma-informed approach becomes paramount. Undertaking a Trauma Informed Care module has empowered Chloe to recognise, understand, and respond to trauma more effectively. By integrating this perspective into practices, Chloe and her team can create a supportive and nurturing environment that recognises the unique needs of each individual and family. Chloe says, "the grant significantly strengthened my ability to deliver high-quality care to individuals impacted by trauma, ultimately improving outcomes and enhancing the overall well-being of parents and their families." Learn more about the output of Chloe's module.

Chloe believes that trauma-informed care is rapidly emerging as the benchmark for healthcare and communication. Through the training and guidance provided on her course, Chloe can now ensure that the entire team is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide trauma-informed care consistently and effectively, benefitting current and future patients.