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A mixed methods study to explore factors influencing the learning environment, patient safety and care quality in non-UK and UK trained registered nurses

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr C Henshall  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Oxford Brookes University

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship

Project Title: A mixed methods study to explore factors influencing the learning environment, patient safety and care quality in non-UK and UK trained registered nurses

Director of Studies: Dr Catherine Henshall

Other Supervisors: Dr Clair Merriman


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution or acceptable equivalent qualification in a relevant discipline. Non-UK Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. The student will be based within the Workforce Development Research Group. There is a requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration. A Masters level qualification is required.

Project Description

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) relies heavily on international staff recruitment to provide patient facing care, with 19% (65,000) of nurses from over 163 non-British nationalities making up the workforce. Some hospital trusts report 50% of their nursing workforce having trained outside of the UK. The focus on international nurse recruitment has intensified, due to challenges in training, recruiting and retaining domestic nurses in the NHS. However, internationally recruited nurses face challenges due to cultural differences between nursing training programmes in the UK and abroad, including different approaches to carrying out personal care and care planning processes. Differences in cultural attitudes, beliefs and experiences regarding the supervision and assessment of the student nursing workforce also exist. Despite these differences, no approved induction or training programme for international nurses exists in the UK (apart from required OSCE and theory tests), with an expectation for them to learn new skills and approaches ‘on the job’. There is an unmet need to effectively support non-UK trained nurses to successfully integrate into work and wider society, with resulting impacts on patient care quality and safety and the supervision/assessment of nursing students. Providing supportive resources and guidance to international nurses can help reduce cultural dissonance in providing safe and appropriate student learning environments.

The study design will be mixed methods to develop a rich understanding of the behaviours of non-UK registered nurses and will consist of three phases:

Phase 1: A systematic literature review will explore to what extent the backgrounds of internationally recruited nurses’ impact on the quality and safety of patient care, as well as the learning environment as experienced by students and newly qualified nurses.

Phase 2: Vignettes, relating to common situations registered nurses encounter in clinical practice, will be developed. These will relate to topics around care delivery and supporting student nurses in clinical practice through supervisory and assessor roles. Non-UK trained and UK trained nurse participants will be asked how they would respond if confronted with various situations depicted.

Phase 3: Interviews will be carried out with non-UK trained and UK trained registered nurses, nurse managers, multidisciplinary team members, NHS recruiting managers and Chief Nurses. Interviews will explore phase 1 &2 findings and will uncover reasons for observed differences between UK and non-UK trained nursing practices, the perceived impact on patient care quality and safety and the learning environment. 

This studentship will enable the identifications of key factors responsible for ensuring that nurses from a range of cultural backgrounds are given appropriate support and resources to fully integrate into their working environments. This will minimise dissonance in practice, absorb stress within teams and ensure that students and newly qualified nurses experience consistency in their learning, practice and assessor environments.

For informal inquiries about the project and the application process please contact Dr Clair Merriman [Email Address Removed] or Dr Catherine Henshall [Email Address Removed]

How to apply: Applicants should email [Email Address Removed] to request an application form.

Funding Notes

Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2022/23 bursary rate is £16,062)
Fees and Bench fees: University fees and bench fees will be met by the University for the 3 years of the funded Studentship.
Closing date: 22 June 2022
Interviews: 4 July 2022
Start date: September 2022
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