Last week we were delighted to be invited along to the launch of this year’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Fellowship. 

This is the second year that the charity has funded the scheme whereby a group of six nurses and allied health professionals have embarked on a six-month fellowship to support research and practice improvement at Oxford University Hospitals.

The scheme aims to encourage staff to find practical and impactful solutions to a number of hospital challenges. This year’s research topics include minimising falls among patients; the transition form paediatric to adult care; the retention of staff; the impact of Professional Nurse Advocates; and dealing with violence and aggression.

Each of the fellows will have an experienced nurse researcher mentor, as well as regular access to a senior clinical expert and quality improvement lead within the Trust to support them. They are given two days a week for six months to focus on the research work.

Paula Gardner, the Interim Chief Nursing Officer, said: “It so uplifting to see staff who are eager to look for innovations and new ways of thinking to improve the way we work and deliver better patient care. The subjects that these fantastic colleagues are looking at are among the most pressing in the Trust, and I wish them every success in their work.

“Research is fundamental to OUH – it not only allows us to look for ways to improve our clinical care, it is also really important for our staff’s career development. We are very grateful to Oxford Hospitals Charity for again providing the funding to support this wonderful initiative, which supports our strategic aim of increasing research awareness, capability and capacity in the nursing, midwifery and allied health professional workforce, in the knowledge that research-active Trusts have better patient outcomes and are more attractive as an employer."

Douglas Graham, CEO of Oxford Hospitals Charity, which is funding the scheme, said: “I am delighted that our charity is funding this very important initiative. It gives nurses and allied health professionals the opportunity to conduct research that has a very direct impact on patients and staff.

“This is the second round of CNO fellowships that we have supported and the wide range of subjects being researched is fantastic and will prove very beneficial across our hospitals. I’m excited to see the results in six months’ time.”

The six CNO fellows are:

Giada Donnini – Manager, Tarver Dialysis Unit

Research theme: staff retention and how to improve it, specifically around flexible working in SUWON division.


Jordan Thomas - Speech and Language Therapist in Upper Airways Service

Research theme: Transition from children’s to adult services, specifically looking at people with severe asthma)


Reem Ali - staff nurse from Catheterisation laboratory (cardioangiography suite)

Research theme: Reducing falls through enhanced observation, focusing on two clinical areas, at the Horton General Hospital and the Churchill Hospital.


Kamaldeep Bhatti - Therapeutic Radiographer at the Oxford Cancer Centre

Research theme: Transition from children’s to adult services, with a focus on paediatric oncology patients moving to the adult setting.


Jessica Pountney - senior sister in Oxford Critical Care

Research Theme: Professional Nurse Advocates, looking at the impact of this role and how it impacts on service improvements.


Aziza Abubakar - deputy sister, complex medicine

Research theme: Violence and Aggression towards staff and patients, looking in particular at the Emergency Department, Oxford Centre for Enablement and gastroenterology.


Commenting on her upcoming fellowship, Giada said: “I am very eager to develop and when this opportunity came up, I just wanted to do something different that wasn’t the usual clinical role that I’ve had. I love to learn and I thought this a good opportunity to learn about research and see how it would fit into practice and if that would benefit my career.” 

We wish all the fellows the best of luck with their studies over the next six months.