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A meeting of minds

01 Nov 2019 10:55:36
Paula Lowson

A Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust nurse is paving the way for others after completing a Chief Nurse Fellowship – a first for the hospital.

Paula Lowson, Macmillan cancer information and support manager, was awarded the first Chief Nurse Fellowship in Rotherham to research the benefits of Mindful Compassion training for people affected by cancer. 

The fellowship is awarded to nurses who aim to conduct research to help instigate change and improvement in their area of work. 

Having benefited from the practice of Mindful Compassion training herself, Paula wanted to research and understand the long-term impact of a one-day Macmillan Mindful Compassion course, which she had introduced previously, on emotional wellbeing and behaviour change. 

She wanted to identify the benefits of attending the Mindful Compassion course two to three years after it was held, to find out whether people still used the skills taught, with a view to introducing nationally recognised Macmillan programmes into the Trust not only for individuals affected by cancer but also within other clinical areas.

Paula was mentored by Sandra Lawton, Nurse Consultant and Clinical Lead Dermatology, who presented the research at an event in Nottingham University Hospital earlier this month.

Sandra said the Chief Nurse Excellence in Care Junior Fellows Posts seek to address the limited opportunities for nurses and midwives to undertake research. The award was first developed at Nottingham University Hospital.

“I had the privilege of mentoring Paula through her CNF journey. She had a busy six months and achieved a great deal,” she said.

The key themes and benefits Paula found through her research included reducing anxieties, aiding sleep and helping to cope with stressful situations, while feeling more empowered, a sense of calm and more relaxed. People were also found to have more time for themselves and were more focused with coping strategies as well as pain management.   

Paula said: “I have found the CNF to be both challenging and rewarding. With support from my mentor and the Chief Nurse I have gained additional skills in research and strategic planning. This has empowered me to continue with the research to assist in implementing changes that will in turn help patients and carers as well as staff."