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The influence of simulated learning on prescribing preparedness and medicines related harm in pre-registration nursing programmes: A longitudinal study

   School of Health and Social Care

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  Dr R Paterson, Prof Alison Machin  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Standards for pre-registration nursing and midwifery programmes prescribing programmes are now fully implemented and, in the context of pharmacology and prescribing, the curricula has greater emphasis on prescribing preparedness (NMC, 2019a; 2019b). The standardised approach to pharmacology aligned to recommendations from the Biosciences Quality Assurance Framework (B-QAF) (BiNE, 2016), aims to: reduce variation in pharmacology content across universities and provide all students with similar levels of prescribing preparedness at point of registration. This is intended to reduce medicines related harm and support progression to a post graduate prescribing qualification earlier in a registrant’s career. Greater emphasis on simulated learning by the NMC facilitates a standardised approach to proficiency relating to prescribing preparedness. However, it is not known what effect this has on students’ knowledge and skills development, nor how this influences medicines related harm in clinical practice.

This full or part time PhD studentship offers the successful applicant an opportunity to address these gaps in research evidence, by designing and conducting a mixed-methods, longitudinal study of students’ experiences of pharmacology and prescribing related simulated learning. They will also investigate the impact of these changes on medicines related harm in the practice learning environment. The initial research questions to be addressed are: (a) What is the impact of pharmacology and prescribing simulation on student nurses’ knowledge, skills and confidence during their programme of study? and (B) What influence does this have on medicine related harm in practice? 

The prescribing and clinical skills team at Edinburgh Napier University have led the design and implementation of the curricula and NMC standards in the UK and are best placed to lead this research. The studentship will be supervised by the Professor Alison Machin, Dean of the School of Health and Social care with a collaborative University/NHS supervision team. Findings from the research will inform enhancements to the pre-registration curricula at local and national levels, promote translational research and enhance partnership working with the NHS.  

Academic qualifications

  A first degree (at least a 2.1) or MSc qualification, ideally in pharmacy, psychology, nursing, medicine or public health with a good fundamental knowledge of NMC standards, simulation practice and prescribing preparedness.. 

English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.  

Essential attributes:

·        A broad understanding of mixed methods research and good IT skills

·        Competent in working independently and to deadlines

·        Knowledge of curriculum design, medicines management and simulation education

·        Good written and oral communication skills 

Desirable attributes:

·        Excellent academic writing skills

·        Prior experience of project management

·        Knowledge and interest in translational pedagogic research 

To apply, please click on the ‘Institution Website’ link on the right-hand side of this page

When applying, please quote the application reference SHSC0042 on your form.


·        Completed application form 

·        CV

·        2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)

·        A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of

·   Brief proposal (2 pages maximum) with the following headings: Background, Research Questions, Method and anticipated Outcomes of the project

·        What you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)

·        Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)  

Funding Notes

This is a funded full time studentship. The successful candidate will receive a standard Edinburgh Napier studentship which includes payment of the Home/EU level of full-time fees for three academic years, plus 36 monthly stipend (or equivalent) payments at the prevailing rate set by the Research Councils.
Overseas candidates are welcome to apply, but will be expected to pay the difference between Home/EU and Overseas fees.


BiNE. Quality Assurance Framework form Biosciences Education in Nursing Learning Outcomes for Biosciences in Pre-registration Nursing Programmes. 2016 (accessed 16 May 2019)
Nursing and Midwifery Council. Standards for prescribing programmes. London: NMC;2019a
Nursing and Midwifery Council. Standards framework for nursing and midwifery education. London: NMC; 2019b
Adhikari, R., Kydonaki, C., Lawrie, J., O'Reilly, M., Ballantyne, B., Whitehorn, J., & Paterson, R. (2021). A mixed-methods feasibility study to assess the acceptability and applicability of immersive virtual reality sepsis game as an adjunct to nursing education. Nurse Education Today,
Paterson, R., & Wood, A. (2019). Pharmacology content in pre-registration curricula: evidence to support implementation. Journal of Prescribing Practice
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