University of Birmingham Featured PhD Programmes
John Innes Centre Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University of Liverpool Featured PhD Programmes
University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes

Enhancing feedback for ambulance service staff to promote workforce wellbeing and patient safety

Project Description

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD within the Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC), a partnership between the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Project Aims:
1) To investigate the role of feedback in supporting workforce wellbeing, engagement and patient safety in ambulance services;

2) To develop and evaluate interventions to enhance feedback and promote wellbeing and patient safety.

Paramedics experience uniquely challenging demands and a high level of chronic job stressors (Soh, 2016). Unsurprisingly, the incidence of posttraumatic symptoms, burnout and general psychopathology has been found to be disproportionately high amongst paramedics compared to the UK professional population (Alexander & Klein, 2001; MIND, 2016).

Prehospital decision-making for the complex scenarios that are encountered by paramedics means dealing with high levels of uncertainty, high variation in patient case-mix, multiple opposing goals and complex service pathway options. These include whether or not to convey a patient to hospital and utilise valuable but limited resources (O’Hara, 2015).

Paramedics rarely receive effective feedback and in the presence of particularly difficult or unique cases, ambulance service staff will often try to follow-up informally with emergency department staff (Jenkinson et al., 2009). Current feedback often lacks structure, relevance, credibility and routine implementation (Morrison, 2017). International studies of the feedback received by pre-hospital providers highlight the need to optimise feedback processes to improve patient care (Cash et al, 2017).

This PhD aims to address these evidence gaps and build upon established research into patient safety and well-being within ambulance services, conducted by the Workforce Engagement and Wellbeing research theme within our Centre.

The research will comprise a mixed methods programme that addresses some or all of the following:
• Develop methods and measures to evaluate well-being, engagement, feedback capability & patient safety in ambulance services.
• Investigation of local workplace and job design factors associated with variations in the above variables.
• Engage stakeholders in a human-centred design approach to enhancing feedback.
• Piloting and robust evaluation of specific solutions and interventions.

The research is likely to appeal to candidates from a broad range of fields, including but not limited to: patient safety, improvement science, implementation science, health services research, health informatics, human factors, organisational studies and psychology.
This prestigious award is available to an exceptional candidate who can demonstrate excellent academic ability, an enthusiasm for healthcare safety, the drive and determination to undertake a PhD and an ambition to work in a multi-disciplinary team to deliver research that makes healthcare safer.


Working with Dr Jonathan Benn, Professor Rebecca Lawton and Dr Gillian Janes in the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, you will also be supported by Clinical Leaders in the region. The University of Leeds, a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, is one of the top 10 Universities in the UK and is ranked in the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2019.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree, or suitable postgraduate degree in psychology, social science or a health-related subject. You will be enthusiastic, organised and motivated with experience in, or knowledge of healthcare services.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are:
• British Council IELTS – score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
• TOEFL iBT – overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form using the link below and send this alongside a 300 word research proposal based on the project brief, a full academic CV, degree certificates and transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) to the Faculty Graduate School at

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Friday 26 April.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to .

If you would like to know more about this scholarship or the work of the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC, please contact: Dr Jonathan Benn ().

Funding Notes

This PhD scholarship is available for UK and EU citizens only, commencing in October 2019. The scholarship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777, increasing each year subject to satisfactory progress, and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees.

This project is supported by the National Institute for Health Research via the Yorkshire and Humber PSTRC, where this PhD will be hosted: View Website

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.