Published on: 20th September 2023

Following a successful pilot of the new RNOH/Bart’s Health and Brunel University London AHP and Nursing Research Internship Scheme in 2022, we are pleased to announce the scheme has been commissioned for a second year!

Untitled design (1).pngThe drive to make ‘research everyone’s business’ has rapidly gained momentum amongst the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHPs) workforce. We know that research active institutions are safer, more efficient and have higher staff satisfaction levels. Therefore, a target to increase clinical academic practice from 0.1% to 1% by 2030 (AUKUH, 2010) was advocated to transform healthcare to better meet the evolving needs of patients, carers and their communities.

To support this target, RNOH entered a partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and Brunel University London in 2022 to pilot a new research internship scheme to provide locally available, pragmatic support for future clinical academic practitioners in the form of a research internship. Allied Health Professionals and Nurses with limited research experiences were provided with mentorship and research training sessions, in combination with negotiable ring-fenced time to facilitate the development of an area of research identified within their clinical practice. By the end of the scheme, interns were supported to think, plan and write a comprehensive research protocol, which could be used as the foundation to develop programmes of work thereafter. For example, the protocol could be used to apply for funding opportunities, or form the basis of an application to obtain ethical approval to deliver the study.

An outline of our initial 2022 pilot scheme, its importance in the context of developing research capacity and capability and the unique qualities of the scheme, can be found here: A new partnership between the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital RNOH, Barts Health NHS Trust and Brunel University London : Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

Why did we commission the scheme for a second year?

The simple answer is that the scheme has already demonstrated measurable benefits to individuals and wider organisations. Measuring research impact is complex and multifaceted. Although it is too early to learn the full impact of the pilot scheme (as our interns recently completed the internship in April 2023), there has already been early evidence of impact, namely:

  1. Evidence of active steps taken to deliver projects independently or through student partnershipsFES bike 03.jpg
  2. Evidence of applying for, and securing national research awards, such as the NIHR Associate Principle Investigator scheme
  3. Evidence of applying for, and securing pump priming grants
  4. Evidence of applying for and securing a PhD studentship award.
  5. Dissemination of work through conferences
  6. Evidence of widening  academic networks/partnerships/collaborations
  7. Contribution to enhancing organisation research culture through dissemination of work, promotion of clinical academic practice, and participation in Trust-wide talks on research.

We are also pleased to highlight that all interns across RNOH and Barts Health sites engaged with the scheme until completion.

How has the scheme evolved since the pilot?

image 4.JPGThe research leads across the three organisations (Dr Roxy Tehrany and Dr Jo Teixeira from RNOH, Prof Cherry Kilbride from Brunel University, and Dr Hortensia Gimeno from Barts Health) have taken steps to enhance the scheme further following a process of formal evaluation, observations and informal feedback. While the core of the scheme has remained unchanged, the team have further developed the internship this year through the implementation of:


  1. Structured, self-learning millstones - a guide to learning development in between research training sessions.
  2. Interim presentation of research plan after three months through a peer review process.
  3. A newly re-structured research training programme based on formal feedback.

Our experience of delivering this flagship opportunity provides a blueprint for other healthcare institutes and universities to unify and develop similar, pragmatic opportunities, which facilitate the integration of research and clinical practice amongst the NMAHP workforce.

Meet the successful interns of 2023:

Similar to last year, this year’s scheme attracted a diverse cohort representing Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians and Speech and Language Therapists across the RNOH and Barts Health sites. Following a formal application and interview process, six interns were recruited from the RNOH (4 AHPs and 2 Nurses) and four AHPs were recruited from Barts Health.

The names of the successful RNOH and Barts Health interns and their chosen projects have been detailed below:

RNOH interns 2023:

Shea Bryne – Band 8a Physiotherapist, Oncology

‘Exploring patients’ perspective on accessing rehabilitation services following surgical management of Sarcoma.’

Katie Monninton – Band 8a Physiotherapist, Hip services

Knowledge and perceptions of patients towards their diagnosis and management of Femoral Acetabular Impingement Syndrome and Gluteal Tendinopathy.’

Nicola Honor - Band 5 Occupational Therapist, Spinal Cord Injury

‘Validity and reliability of a new outcome measure for the assessment of manual wheelchair skills amongst patients with Spinal Cord Injury.’

Claire Kelly – Band 7 Occupational Therapist, Spinal Cord Injury

‘A scoping review to explore the evidence for optimal wheelchair configuration and seating amongst patients with Spinal Cord Injury.

Anna Timms –Band 8a Lead Clinical Nurse Specialist, Limb re-construction.

‘Exploring the skills, experience and attributes are required to establish the optimal limb reconstruction team.’

Karen Alligan, Band 8a Lead Nurse, Foot and Ankle Unit

‘Understanding the effectiveness of the Clinical Nurse Specialist role within an orthopaedic foot and ankle unit.’

Barts Health Interns:

Madhavi Padala, Band 6 Senior Nutrition support community dietitian, Community nutrition

‘Identifying sarcopenia in nursing home residents to minimise hospitalisations and readmissions.’

Tadala Kolawole, Band 7 Senior specialist renal dietitian, Renal Medicine

Does earlier education empower patients to make better decisions around nutrition and kidney health?’

Carnia Carter, Band 6 Physiotherapist, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy

Can patients with rotator cuff related shoulder pain be effectively treated with a shoulder self-management exercise programme, without needing an assessment by a physiotherapist?’

Georgia Carlile, Band 7 Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Head & Neck

Taste rehabilitation following radiotherapy for Head & Neck Cancer’

On behalf of the internship leadership team, we would like to congratulate all interns, past a present, for their commitment to delivering high-quality evidence-based care through clinically led research.

This Blog was authored by Dr Rokhsaneh Tehrany and supported by Prof Cherry Kilbride, Dr Jo Teixeira and Dr Hortensia Gimeno.