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Case study: Your Path in Research: Claire's Story

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife! To celebrate, we’ll be inviting a different nurse each month to tell us about their time in research. This month, Claire Marshall from Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust is under the spotlight...

Name: Claire Marshall

Role: Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Nurse/Clinical Lead currently undertaking Predoctoral clinical academic fellowship with NIHR, supported by The University of Hull

Organisation: Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust

What got you into research nursing/midwifery?
At the outset of my nursing career I had an interest in research, and was supported by my organisation Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to undertake a part time MSc programme, in evidence based practice. When I was first employed in my current role in the Perinatal Team 10 years ago, I was inspired and supported by my clinical senior colleagues, and academics working in maternal mental health to “get involved” in research projects that were critical for patients. Making sure that research is relevant and has an impact on positive patient care is so important, and I was offered the opportunity to get involved in work to identify challenges to patient care and use research and evidence to inform practice. For example, research looking at non engagement in perinatal mental health services and the development of an evidence informed tokophobia (severe fear of childbirth) pathway). This work provided the stepping stones for my successful application for my current predoctoral clinical academic fellowship, which enables me to enhance my clinical leadership skills within the Perinatal Team, whilst developing research skills, supported by both clinical and academic experts.

What’s been your best day in research?
I’m currently half way through a predoctoral clinical academic fellowship, and my research related achievements are growing week by week. I’m proud to be considered part of the research team at the Maternal and Reproductive Health Group at the University of Hull. The work on developing clinical pathways for tokophobia has been a huge part of both my clinical and academic role and the launch of the evidence informed pathway in 2019, was a great achievement for the whole team of clinicians, patients and academics. I have recently been awarded Chief Midwifery Officer silver award for my contribution to this work, which is something I'm very proud of.

What are you working on now, and what are you looking forward to?
Enhancing skills that are critical for research is a key component of the predoctoral clinical academic award with NIHR, and I’m currently focusing on improving my skills at academic writing for publication. I’m also working on improving my skills at presenting research outcomes, and I’m looking forward to presenting at the Trinity Health and Education conference 2020 in Dublin, the findings of a current piece of research which evaluates perinatal mental health services. I’m also quite nervous, but what an opportunity!

Do you have any advice for those looking to get into research nursing/midwifery?
I realise now how critical it is to develop a team of both clinical and academic colleagues who are inspirational and willing to offer support and guidance along the way. I would advise anyone interested in research to speak to colleagues about their interests and develop relationships with other services and organisations that share your enthusiasm. I try my best to accept with enthusiasm any opportunity and challenge that comes my way, and because of that I honestly can't believe how my skills, knowledge and confidence has increased over the last 18 months.

Get in touch with us at to let us know about an event you are holding to celebrate International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, or to share your story of working in research.