Category Archives: Scotland

Postgraduate Research Student Lunchtime Seminars

The school now has monthly lunch time seminars in which our PGR students present their work to date in a supportive environment. Please find attached the poster advert for June 13th. We would welcome anyone to come along and support our PGR students.

Feedback on the recent day long PGR student symposium last month was that more events such as this would be helpful to their PG student journey and would help foster the research culture they need to succeed and enjoy their work.

Look forward to seeing everyone there and the dialogue that these presentations will encourage!

Download the flyer below:

Postgraduate Research Student Lunchtime Seminars


Getting back to my roots!

By Dr. Flora Douglas, Reader, School of Nursing and Midwifery

It’s been a great pleasure to find myself at the start of my second week in post as a new Reader in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, as inspired and excited as I was since gaining the appointment some weeks ago. My new start coincided with the SNM 2nd annual Post Graduate Research symposium on the 23rd May. The symposium’s keynote presentation delivered by Prof. Kadar Parahoo from Ulster University set the tone for the day, i.e. as a relaxed, supportive but highly informative event. His talk on ‘Building a Research Career’ touched on issues and topics familiar to me (as someone who has worked academia in Scotland and Australia) yet at the same time, gave fresh perspective and inspiration.

The symposium itself proved to be a marvellous show case event for post graduate students’ research projects, enabling me to get very quick ‘handle’ on the range of innovative research work that is currently taking place at RGU in the areas of adult nursing, midwifery and mental health. The topics presented during the symposium ranged from: 1. Maternity service-user involvement in midwifery education, 2. Use of film as a media for investigating stigma associated with mental health with young people, 3. Health and social integration and service user experiences in north east Scotland, 4. Exploration of notions of palliative care for patients with heart failure, 5. Older adults with functional mental illness and their service use experiences, to name but a few of the impressive range of subject areas covered.

Reflecting on the symposium, and my first full week in post, I am pleased to find that while I’ve been working predominantly in public health and public health research over the past couple of decades, the skills and research interests I’ve gained since qualifying as a nurse from Glasgow University in the ‘80s – particularly as they relate my research interests in understanding the impact of food poverty on long term condition management, and, maternal and child health – fit well here. And therefore, I’m very happy indeed to have journeyed ‘Back to my Roots’ here at RGU, and am really looking forward to taking part in the life and work of this vibrant and welcoming nursing community over the coming years.

RGU Student nurses visit to the Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey

By James Millar

Earlier this year I received an email, like many I receive I glanced over it then ignored it not realising or understanding the opportunity contained within. Upon closer inspection I found that it was an invite to attend the Florence Nightingale Commemoration service at Westminster Abbey in London. After double checking it and – ever the sceptic –  looking for the “catch”, I realised that myself and fellow student Christie, been nominated to attend. Naturally, I jumped at the chance!

Over the next couple of weeks, I exchanged several emails about the commemoration service, and it became apparent that our time in London would also include a student day at St Thomas hospital, and that we would be accompanied by Heather Bain – the Academic Strategic lead for Nursing and Midwifery at RGU. I was also delighted to learn that our flights and accommodation were to be arranged for by the university – thank you, RGU!

So, it was at 4:30am on Wednesday the 9th of May my alarm went off and I got ready to go meet Christie and hop on a plane down to London.

By 9am we had landed at London city airport and managed to negotiate the trains and tubes to arrive at Waterloo station. After dropping our bags at the hotel, we headed to St Thomas hospital to attend the student day, which began at 10:30am.

The student day took place in the Governors hall in St Thomas Hospital and consisted of around 80 students from across the UK, representing midwives and all the various nursing disciplines. We were placed into groups designed to promote inter-practice discussion and given a topic to create 2 questions from, which we would put towards a panel of inspirational personages from nursing and midwifery backgrounds. The panel consisted of Geoffrey Walker (Chair), Matron for Medicine/Specialist Medicine/Emergency and Ambulatory Care at Poole Hospital. Professor Ann Lloyd Keen Professor of Innovation Health for Older Care London South Bank University; Senior Scholar at the Hartford Institute, New York University; Fellow of Queens Nursing Institute; Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing; Trustee, The Florence Nightingale Foundation. Professor Ian Peate, Head of School, School of Health Studies, Gibraltar. Ursula Ward, Chief Executive, The Florence Nightingale Foundation. Professor Greta Westwood Chief Operating Officer, The Florence Nightingale Foundation. Rachael Corser, East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Director of Nursing.

All the groups presented their questions, which ranged from the future of education to practice and gender equality issues. We received answers from members of the panel, provoking discussion and occasionally conflicting opinions. However, any disagreements originated in focus and priorities rather than any fundamental difference of opinion, and the discussions between the panel in answering our questions was enlightening.

While I enjoyed the Q&A session and learned a lot about the differences between the NHS Trusts in England and NHS Scotland, I felt that NHS Scotland was not represented on the panel and that any questions coming from Scottish Students about practice and education in Scotland were marginalised or deflected.  However, the interactions with other students going through their own nursing or midwifery journeys made the day well worthwhile and has encouraged me to continue my own nursing journey.

Following the Q&A session we were given a guided tour of St Thomas hospital, the multi-faith chapel and the Florence Nightingale museum, which I would recommend to any nurse, student or qualified, as it gave a picture of how nursing has developed thanks to the hard work of people like Florence Nightingale. It was also interesting to learn a bit about Florence as a person, her interests, and even her grumpy pet owl Athena.

In the evening we made our way over Westminster bridge to Westminster Abbey to attend the Commemoration service for Florence Nightingale, which was a truly humbling experience. From the red coated arrival of the Chelsea Pensioners to the procession of the lamp with the Plymouth student nurses and the Matrons from her Majesties Nursing Corps, the inspiring speeches, stories and prayers made the service something I will remember for the rest of my life.

The following day, Heather Bain had arranged for us to meet with Kenny Gibson, the head of safeguarding, public health commissioning, early years, immunisations and military health with NHS England at Skipton house. Kenny went over his roles with us and the difficulties facing healthcare – especially in a large urban environment like London – and the technological innovations being used to overcome them, such as E-pens to online records. It was just as interesting to learn about Kenny’s nursing journey – coming from a small village outside Banff in rural Aberdeenshire to becoming head of Safeguarding in London was an inspirational story for myself and Christie to hear. Kenny worked as a domestic in the laundry at RCH before undertaking his training as a mental health nurse at RCH and Kingseat, from there he took every opportunity he could to develop and progress his learning.

After visiting Kenny, we took in some of the sights of London, Camden Market and the street performances at Covent Gardens were definitely highlights! We were then lucky enough to attend a small meeting at the home of the NMC in Portland Place before starting the journey home to Aberdeen.

I would like to thank the Florence Nightingale Foundation for inviting students from around the UK to attend the event, and all the staff at RGU who organised our travel, accommodation and ultimately suggested us as candidates to attend. Thanks also to Heather for arranging our visits and guiding us around London on the second day.

Improving health & wellbeing of informal caregivers of people with bipolar disorder

School of Nursing and Midwifery
Robert Gordon University
Research Seminar

Dr Lee Boag

Improving health & wellbeing of informal caregivers of people with bipolar disorder

The seminar is now available to view by clicking this link:

If you would like to provide feedback on the presentation you are welcome to do so via Dr Audrey Stephen (


Research Seminars

The research team are running a series of Research Seminars, which is currently showcasing the Phd research of our most recently qualified doctors. The seminars aim to highlight research carried out by school staff and our external colleagues, with a focus on health and social care.

The winter – spring session kicked off in mid-December with Dr Steve Smith presenting his PhD study in a talk entitled ‘Solution Focus: What is it good for?’ He eloquently led the audience through his study of the use of solution focused brief therapy by nurses, and enthused with his thoughts on being immersed in the research process.  The resulting discussion with the audience could have gone on all night.  Readers may view Steve’s presentation by clicking this link: (60 sec download time)

The seminar series continues in February with Dr Heather Bain presenting her work on the unique knowing of district nurses :

Heather’s session will also be available to view in this blog by the end of February. But, if you would like to come along to this session in person then all you need to do is contact Heather Nicolson

The seminars run between 4-5pm and are usually on a Monday or Tuesday. Come along for tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits beforehand and be prepared to have your enthusiasm for research lit or rekindled.


Digitising the Ongoing Achievement Record (Scotland)

The school has been busy over the winter months with two large e-Learning projects, one of which has been digitising the paper based placement documentation (OAR Scotland).  The OAR is a nationally agreed document and as it has been validated by the Nursing And Midwifery Council, the content cannot be changed. The Electronic Clinical Assessment Tool project lead was Senior Lecturer e-Learning and Innovation Dr Fiona Work with the digitisation work led by e-Learning Adviser Gavin Innes, working closely with Senior Lecturer Practice Learning Alison Brown and the wider Practice Education team.

In late 2015, the school purchased a system called Myprogress from MyKnowledgeMap®, a UK based company developing e-portfolio and online assessment tools.  Myprogress differs from its competitors having an off-line facility using a mobile app.

The challenge was how to learn how to use this new system quickly and create something that would be used by hundreds of students and mentors (i.e. getting it right!).


Student view of the online system

The OAR has around 300 pages of information and forms with many of these transferred quite easily into online web pages and forms.  The most fundamental issue we came across was how do we develop a secure system for mentors that the identities of which we do not yet know?  Our solution was to deploy all the online forms to the students, just as we did with the paper copy.  Therefore, like the paper copy, the mentor would sign the forms.  However, this time they would be signing the documentation electronically using their e-mail address, which in turn sends them a secure password – one of the features that was not present on the paper OAR.

The continued expansion of the system and on-going task of administration is in the process of being handed over to Clare Smith, a Senior Clerical Assistant, who has risen to the challenge and embraced the new system.   The first small cohort of students are currently out on practice now. So we eagerly await their feedback to see what they and their mentors think of our new creation.

More information:

Return to Practice

Minister meets students completing course.

Nearly 200 former nurses and midwives are expected to return to practice this year – more than double the aim of a Scottish Government-funded scheme.

Over 40 participants have already completed Return to Practice programmes in 2015, allowing them to retrain and re-enter the nursing and midwifery workforce.

Today (Monday), the Public Health Minister saw the programme in action in NHS Grampian, where students are paid a salary during their clinical placement hours and guaranteed a job on completion.

Maureen Watt visited Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen where she met current students and scheme mentors and managers, as well as university and NHS Grampian officials.

Ms Watt said:

“I’m delighted to see first-hand the work underway in NHS Grampian to retrain former nurses and midwives under our national Return to Practice scheme.

“Earlier this year we announced investment of £450,000 over three years to encourage former nurses and midwives back into the profession. This will enable around 75 former nurse and midwives to retrain each year and re-enter employment.

“There has already been significant interest in the scheme here in Grampian and across Scotland. Today I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of those who have decided to retrain and to re-join our nursing workforce. They will bring a wealth of previous experience with them and will be an asset to our health and social care workforce.

“In addition we have funded an increase in the number of nurses and midwives in training again this year by a further three per cent, on top of the six per cent increase the Scottish Government announced last year. This is the kind of careful long term planning and investment our NHS needs and shows our commitment to increasing the numbers of qualified nurses and midwives in our hospitals now as well as planning for the future.”

Professor Ian Murray, Head of RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery said:

“The Return to Practice Nursing course is just one example of how Robert Gordon University and NHS Grampian are working together to enhance the healthcare workforce by providing dynamic and clinically relevant education.

“The current Return to Practice Nursing cohort has found the course challenging but also very rewarding both personally and professionally; the course is bringing highly skilled and experienced nurses back into the workforce which can only be good for the quality of patient care.”

June Brown, NHS Grampian Associate Director of Nursing (Modernisation) said:

“We are delighted to be working collaboratively with Robert Gordon University to deliver Return to Practice (RTP). We were aware of nurses who wanted to return to the profession but the location of courses and the financial challenges involved were a barrier. By developing a local course with an employment model we are overcoming that barrier.

“We interview applicants jointly and, if accepted, we place them in a clinical area where we know there will be vacancy for them at the end of the course. During their practice placement they are paid a basic wage. They are also able to work on the nurse bank as a healthcare support worker to supplement any loss of salary during the course.

“I am thrilled at the progress made by the first cohort of students and look forward to meeting the second group when they start in January.”


• Return to Practice is a Scottish Government funded scheme (£450,000 additional funding over three years, commencing April 2015), administered by NHS Education for Scotland. It is intended to attract experienced nurses and midwives who have left the service back into the profession, enabling them to retrain and to re-enter employment.

• Each year, up to 100 former midwives and nurses will be able to apply to have their university programme fees fully paid (£1,500)

• Initial cohorts of Return to Practice students started in summer 2015 and over 40 registrants have already completed RtP programmes this year.

• The Scottish Government set a target of at least 75 funded RtP places in 2015/16, but it is anticipated that nearly 200 former registrants will take up the opportunity this year. The extra places in 2015/16 will be fully funded.

• Participation in the national RtP programme is one aspect of NHS Grampian’s wider strategy to ensure a sustainable nursing and midwifery workforce.