Published on: 23rd September 2022

A new partnership between the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH), Barts Health NHS Trust and Brunel University London

We are pleased to announce the start an exciting pilot AHP and Nursing Research Internship Scheme 2022 / 2023, which will be delivered in collaboration with the RNOH, Barts Health and Brunel University London

The aim of this scheme is to support future clinical academic practitioners by providing training and mentorship opportunities in combination with negotiable ring-fenced time to time to think, plan and write a research protocol relevant to their clinical area of interest. It is anticipated that this research protocol will be the ‘spring board’ to pursue further academic opportunities or grant applications in the future while providing an insight into clinical academic life and exposure to new working relationships/networks across organisations.

Why this scheme important?

Research active healthcare organisations have repeatedly shown to deliver better clinical outcomes, report higher levels of patient satisfaction and confidence, and lower staff turnover and mortality rates when compared to organisations with little or no research activity.

Clinical academic practitioners who are ‘clinically active healthcare researchers’ are vital for transforming healthcare through research. These roles (which typically develop through joint appointments between healthcare organisations and universities) provide the optimal environment, opportunities, resources and skillset for clinical research to be informed by ‘real world’, everyday problems and questions that are valuable to the patients, services and caregivers. The Association of UK University Hospitals (AUKUH) have set out a long term ambition to ‘increase the proportion of the non-medical workforce (Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHPs)) in clinical academic positions from 0.1%, to 1% by 2030.’

As such, the internships provide an accessible pre-MSc ‘taster’ for novice researchers across the RNOH and Barts Health Trusts which allows them to develop a research idea during pre-negotiated protected time while continuing to carry out their clinical practice.

What makes this scheme a good opportunity?

While non-medical research internships can be sought through national schemes, such as the NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) pathway, these schemes tend to be exceptionally competitive, limiting access to opportunities at a local level. In contrast, the new internships have been more accessible to staff across the two Trusts, while still providing the same level of knowledge and opportunities as national schemes.

The structure of the RNOH/Barts Health/Brunel University Internship scheme shares commonalities with NIHR ICA internships in terms of duration (six months) and teaching provision, which in our case will be delivered online by Brunel University London. However, the new internships have been designed to expose interns to a wider range of ongoing clinical academic opportunities (such as guidance on accessing charitable research funding) through mentorship and self-guided learning, which will not primarily be limited to the NIHR Pathway. Interns will also be ‘prepped’ before the start of the internship through access to four optional ‘pre-internship workshops’ which aim to optimise basic skills in areas such as Microsoft word/excel, literature searching and utilising free reference manager software.

Who were successful from the RNOH?

This year we are pleased to announce that the initial pilot scheme attracted a diverse multidisciplinary cohort consisting of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Speech and Language Therapists and Dieticians, who were successfully recruited in May 2022 following an application and interview process. Six interns were recruited from the RNOH who will be joined by seven interns from Barts Health.

On behalf of the internship team, we would like to congratulate all interns and wish them the best of luck for embarking on their new clinical academic journey with the hope that they will strive to become leaders in their chosen research fields, while inspiring others and advancing the culture of research within their respective Trusts.

A full list of successful interns from the RNOH and their chosen research topics that will be developed throughout the 2022/23 scheme have been detailed below.

RNOH Research Interns 2022/23:

Elaine Cobb -  Band 7 Upper Limb Occupational Therapist

Topic; ‘Exploring the experiences of therapists who utilise interventions for improving the transfer of handwriting skills to the non-dominant hand.’

Jennifer Fulton – Band 8a Physiotherapist, Amputation Rehabilitation and Sarcoma

Topic; ‘The impact of microprocessor controlled knee units for prosthetic limb users.’

Kate Scanlan - Band 7 Occupational Therapist, Orthopaedic oncology

Topic; ‘Exploring the experience and impact of sarcoma surgery on a person’s identity roles, and ability to manage day to day tasks.’

Kelly Warfield – Band 8c Nurse Consultant, Rheumatology, Rehabilitation and Pain

Topic; ‘A ‘mindful based pain programme’ for reducing body perception disturbance score and improving pain and functioning in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).’

Olivia McVeigh-Mellor – Band 4 Motor Learning Lab Technician

Topic; ‘Exploring how gait rehabilitation within the Motor Learning Lab (MLL) can be used to monitor and improve the outcomes of patients who undergo correction of limb length and rotational changes using Taylor Spatial frames (TSF).’

Ying Liu – Band 7 Clinical Nurse Specialist

Topic; ‘Exploring the factors that influence patient preferences, satisfaction and the quality of clinical outcomes provided by a clinical nurse specialist in shoulder and elbow.’

For more information contact Dr Roxy Tehrany, Therapies Research Lead ( or Dr Jo Teixeira, Nursing Research Lead (