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Improving the governance of medication safety

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  • Full or part time
    Prof N Fulop
    Dr Y Jani
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames is accepting applications for its 2015/2016 PhD studentship. NIHR CLAHRC North Thames is one of 13 CLAHRCs across England which have been funded to conduct high quality applied health research, focused on the needs of patients and the public to produce a direct impact on health and the way that health care/public health is organised and delivered. More information about the CLAHRC can be found on our website:

Research summary
This PhD builds on UCL research undertaken on governance processes of medication safety in acute hospitals and professional engagement with these processes. This research will analyse how specific medication safety cultures develop in a variety of clinical contexts based on differences in professional culture (e.g. among doctors, nursing staff, and pharmacists). Service areas with different theorised attitudes toward medication safety may also be compared, such as surgery and general medicine.

The PhD study may include developing and piloting an intervention for tackling these boundaries.

Skills / experience required
Training in one or more of the social sciences is essential.
Experience in qualitative research methods, particularly ethnographic research, is desirable.
Knowledge of the UK NHS is essential.

Methods to be used
Systematic narrative review of the patient safety literature, drawing on different disciplines/perspectives (e.g. relevant work on organisational learning/ governance processes/ innovation studies).
Ethnographic methods, which involve spending an extended period of time in different clinical settings to acquire a detailed understanding of the ‘safety culture’. Ethnography in each setting will draw on non-participant observations, formal and informal interviews, and documentary analysis.


• Professor Naomi Fulop, UCL, [Email Address Removed]
• Dr Yogini Jani, UCLH, [Email Address Removed]
• Professor Martin Marshall, UCL, [Email Address Removed]
• Dr Simon Turner, UCL, [Email Address Removed]

Due to funding restrictions applicants must be UK/EU nationals. Please refer to UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) for details of these criteria:

Training opportunities:
PhD students will be entitled to the full range of PhD training opportunities at their host institution. In addition, all PhD students benefit from training provided by the NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Academy. The Academy brings together PhD students from across the CLAHRC, to create a community of students training in applied health research. The Academy works alongside each host institution’s graduate training programme to equip students with the skills needed to work at the interface of academia and health services. Our doctoral programme focuses on practical aspects of applied health research, such as the skills required to undertake research in health care and public health settings, to engage patients and the public in research, and to navigate relevant ethical and research governance approval systems. In addition, we aim to provide students with an understanding of how their work fits in to current NHS structures, for example by facilitating short shadowing placements. PhD students will be expected to attend and present at scientific meetings aimed at disseminating the findings of CLAHRC research.

Further information on the studentship
This is an exciting opportunity for applicants with an interest in further developing social science skills in applied health research to take up a PhD studentship funded by The Health Foundation within the Department of Applied Health Research, University College London. The student will join the Organisation and Management of Health Care group, led by Professor Naomi Fulop, and link with a broader programme of research funded by NIHR Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) North Thames within the theme innovations in systems and models of care.

The PhD provides an opportunity to draw on evidence from different social science disciplines on the impact of professional and organisational culture on processes of learning and improvement relevant to patient safety; to explore the ways in which intra- and inter-professional boundaries influence the prevailing ‘safety culture’ in different acute care settings; and to investigate factors likely to improve the safety culture in consultation with a range of healthcare professionals.

If you would like further information on the PhD topic please contact Michelle Morton [Email Address Removed].

How to apply:
Candidates should hold a Master’s qualification in an appropriate discipline and have a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in their first degree. Candidates should be able to demonstrate academic training in one or more of the social sciences. All applicants are required to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They should also be willing to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams.

Your application should consist of a CV and contact details of two academic referees. You must also include a personal statement (1,000 words maximum) describing your suitability for the project including how your research experience and interests relate to the project.

Please send your application to Mary Thomas, NIHR CLAHRC North Thames Manager ([Email Address Removed]).

Closing date for applications: at midnight on Sunday 14 February 2016
Interviews: w/c 22 February 2016
Duration: 3 years, full time
Stipend: £22,278

Funding Notes
Due to funding restrictions applicants must be UK/EU nationals
Stipend: £22,278

Funding Notes

Due to funding restrictions applicants must be UK/EU nationals. Please refer to UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) for details of these criteria:
Stipend: £22,278

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