If you need information in another format from our website please contact us by email: janet.hall@nipec.hscni.net or enquiries@nipec.hscni.net or phone us on 0300 300 0066.

Head of Research and Development for Nurses, Midwives and AHPs/Reader

Research & Development
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Public Health
  • Research & Development
  • Commissioning

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing
  • Midwifery


  • Education Provider

Job/Role Summary

As a joint appointment between the Southern HSC Trust and Ulster University, this is a diverse and challenging role that includes the provision of academic leadership in research and development, teaching and other aspects of knowledge exchange and/or knowledge transfer to support the Trust in its aim of providing clinically effective, evidence-based health care. In the academic part of the role, the post holder supervises MSc and PhD students, teaches and actively contributes to multidisciplinary research and development. Other important elements of the role, include fostering appropriate external links and disseminating research and development outcomes through peer review publications and presenting at national and international fora.


Specific qualifications and experience required

Registered Nurse and/or Registered Midwife

Primary degree and teaching qualification/MSc preferred

PhD or working towards PhD

Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority is a minimum requirement of the University


Career Milestones

I grew up wanting to be a nurse and was delighted when accepted to undertake my pre-registration course. This was closely followed by the opportunity to be educated to be a midwife; a decision which changed my career path.

Working in a hospital on the Upper East side of New York as a Registered Nurse taught me that access to the best equipment, latest techniques and health insurance policies cannot compete with compassionate fundamental nursing care.

Studying part-time to complete my BSc in Professional Development in Nursing with Specialist study in Management at Ulster University, closely followed by an MSc in Midwifery in QUB, while working full-time helped me to realise that I could manage competing priorities and time management skills. Also that while most colleagues are supportive, there will always be some who do not want you to succeed. Learning to manage and live with that, was an important life skill!

Being a labour ward sister and manager of a small midwifery hospital were roles that were daunting and enjoyable in equal measures. The value of working with inspiring and supportive midwifery and multidisciplinary colleagues and knowing how and when to challenge in a constructive way (and having the courage to so) were important learning points from these roles.

Undertaking my PhD, has been one of my greatest challenges both professionally and personally but it has provided me with opportunities to see the world through a different lens, to develop research skills and work with colleagues from whom I have learned a great deal. I am now able to pay that forward by facilitating a diverse range of students to achieve their academic goals.

Being elected as a Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Board member by my peers and then Board Chair, at a time of transition in the RCM was a great honour and one in which I learnt a great deal about myself, organisational governance and the challenges inherent in an organisation that is both a Professional Association and a Workplace Union.

Having been a registrant member on the NMC Midwifery Committee, I now have a better understanding of the role of the professional regulator, how midwifery is perceived by those outside of midwifery and the importance of strong leadership and not being afraid to speak up.


What attracted you to this job?

I was attracted to the opportunity to engage with clinical nurses, midwives and AHPs within their place of work and support them in their research and development activity. I am passionate about practitioners working in an environment that is supportive of their development needs generally but specifically research and development knowledge and skills, in order to enhance their confidence and competence in the provision of evidence based person-centred care. In this role, I get to see up close, the passion and commitment that colleagues in practice and academia have for their work and the impact that research and development can have on practice and ultimately person-centred care.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

Meeting with individual practitioners, teams and students to discuss their plans and provide them with the necessary facilitation and support

Securing funding that allows me to work collaboratively with a range of multidisciplinary colleagues and service users to do research and development that can make a difference to women, patients and healthcare colleagues.

Teaching and supporting a diverse range of staff and students in both the HSCTrust and academic setting.


Challenging aspects of the job/role

Balancing working for two organisations in one role is challenging and requires a clear understanding of the synergies that exist between the two.


Important success factors

Supportive managers and colleagues who understand the importance of autonomy in the role while ultimately holding me to account.

Developing supportive and collaborative relationships with colleaguese in practice and research.

Having trusted colleagues who you can turn to for support and advice when needed.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

Be prepared to expect something different every day, put your own stamp on the role and find the balance that works for you and both organisations.

Find yourself a mentor who understands the inherent challenges in the role.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

A greater understanding of the challenges faced by clinical staff in undertaking clinical research and development in practice.

The ability to talk about and undertake research and development projects with a non-academic audience including service users

A broader view of research and development activity and the opportunity to collaborate with multidisciplinary colleagues and service users on a diverse range of projects.

Better understanding of Trust Governance processes.


Share this page