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Case study: Nurse wants more south London nursing researchers

Read Dr Verna Lavender's research story.

A south London senior nurse leader wants to increase the opportunities for nurses to get involved in research through her involvement in an NIHR programme.

Dr Verna Lavender, Head of Nursing for Research and Education, Cancer and Surgery at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, has been accepted onto the NIHR's Senior Research Leader (SRL) programme for nurses and midwives.

The new three-year programme aims to unlock the research potential of senior nurses and midwives. The NIHR wants to support the development of nurses and midwives as future research leaders and increase research capacity and capability at a local, regional and national level. Verna said:

"I applied for the programme to network with research-active nurses beyond my cancer nursing field and gain NIHR funding support to develop nurses' research capability and capacity.

"By funding SRL roles through this programme, the NIHR is supporting the development of the necessary infrastructure to grow research capacity and capability. The NIHR is vitally important in supporting the implementation of the Chief Nursing Officer for England's strategic plan for research: Making Research Matter.

"Research generates new knowledge and improves practice and education. My role enables me to train and nurture the next generation of nurse researchers, which I love doing! I want to thank the NIHR for this prestigious award, which I will do my utmost to honour."

A total of 35 SRLs were selected from various healthcare settings, specialisms and roles nationwide. The programme's first cohort will run from April 2023 until March 2026.

The SRL programme will recruit nurses and midwives annually through a competitive application process, with nurses and midwives remaining on the programme for three years. You can find out more about the programme on the NIHR's website.