Delivering a higher dose of evidence to help nurses

Who got that job? Lesley Lowes on becoming chair of clinical nursing practice at Cardiff University. Plus the latest higher education jobs and appointments

January 30, 2014

“When I saw the advert I thought: ‘Yes, great, I’ve been waiting for this,” said Lesley Lowes, who is a month into her new position as the Florence Nightingale Foundation chair of clinical nursing practice research at Cardiff University. “I’ve really enjoyed my career, and I think this is probably the pinnacle of it.”

The new position was devised by Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board in partnership with the Florence Nightingale Foundation. Professor Lowes, formerly reader in paediatric diabetes nursing at Cardiff, said that when she saw the expectations of the job – including those of the three organisations involved – she felt she fitted.

“I was delighted [to be appointed] because nursing and nursing research have always been a passion of mine,” she said. “Very early on [in my nursing career], I began evidence-based practice and [considering] how we can take nursing research forward. I think this role is about being an ambassador for nursing research and trying to improve patient care by doing and using research on the wards and out in the community.”

Professor Lowes started in nursing “quite late”, she said. After qualifying as a general nurse, she moved to Cardiff and Vale because she “only wanted to work with children”, and the place where she trained would not give her a paediatric post.

Although her one reservation in applying for the current role was having to leave clinical practice, which she had been combining with her academic work since 1999, she believed that it “was exactly the right decision”.

Along with “all the academic activity that you would expect a professor to carry out”, one of the job’s main roles would be to “lead on the development of a nursing research strategy for Cardiff and Vale” and to help nurses to make a difference.

“It’s about being there for them: being a mentor, a resource, a presence in nursing research,” she said. “Already I’ve had nurses say, ‘Can I come and talk to you? I’ve got this [research] idea.’

“I want to raise the profile of nursing research because nurses have had a very bad press recently. Nurses do a lot of good work. They’re caring, they’re committed to their patients and they are interested in evidence-based practice [to improve care].”

Therefore, she was keen to “develop nurse researchers and the clinical academic pathways for nursing”, which “aren’t very clear” at the moment.

“There aren’t many nurses who are in clinical practice and who are academic[s]. It’s quite a difficult road to travel,” she said. “Nurses are very busy, their clinical roles take precedence, and I think a lot of them may see nursing research as an elitist activity.

“But I believe that if you ask any one of them, ‘is there an area of your practice that you would like to have more evidence on?’ they [will have] research questions [arising] from their practice.”

Care packages: jobs in nursing and health

Memorial University
Memorial University in the Canadian province of Newfoundland is inviting nominations and applications for the position of dean in its School of Nursing.
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role

University of the West of England
The University of the West of England has an opportunity for a lecturer/senior lecturer in adult nursing.
Closing date for applications: 10 February 2014
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role

Abertay University
Abertay University in Dundee is looking for a head for its School of Social and Health Sciences as well as a leader for its School of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Closing date for applications: 14 February 2014
Click here to view the full job description and to apply for this role


Francesco Rubino has been appointed professor of metabolic surgery at King’s College London and King’s College Hospital, part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. The chair is said to be the world’s first in the discipline.

The University of Southampton has made Jane Falkingham dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences. Professor Falkingham was previously head of social sciences.

The University of Manchester has appointed two experts in frailty to the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences. Susan Howlett and Kenneth Rockwood join as professors of cardiovascular physiology and geriatric medicine, respectively. They will work under the umbrella of the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing.

Trevor McMillan has joined Keele University as deputy vice-chancellor and provost. He was formerly pro vice-chancellor for research at Lancaster University.

The University of Exeter has named Jane Chafer director of communication and corporate affairs. She joins from Plymouth University, where she was director of external relations and communications.

Francis Campbell takes over the post of principal of St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, in April. Between 1999 and 2003, he was policy adviser and then private secretary to the prime minister, Tony Blair. He is currently head of the policy unit and director of innovation at UK Trade and Investment.

The University of East Anglia has named David J. Richardson its next vice-chancellor. He is currently the university’s deputy vice-chancellor and professor of bacterial biochemistry.

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