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HeMS Janes: Exploring the theory and practice of nursing and midwifery leadership in digital health policy

Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care

Supervisors: Prof Gillian Janes; Dr Cristina Vasilica; Dr Louise Prothero

Location: Chelmsford

The interview for this project is expected to take place on Thursday 18 April.

Apply online by 3 March 2024

Digital health transformation is a national and international health and wellbeing policy priority. Digital health services are viewed as an important means of enhancing population health outcomes by helping to address the pressing current and future challenges facing health and social care.

However, the promised benefits of digital health transformation have not necessarily been seen, and its full potential is unlikely to be realised without a sustained nursing and midwifery leadership contribution.

Following recognition that the nursing and midwifery voice was largely absent from the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe Digital Health Action Plan, a commissioned integrative review was completed in collaboration with international practice and digital health policy leads (Janes et al, forthcoming).

This studentship will build on this integrative review, which found gaps in the current evidence, including an understanding of what constitutes nursing and midwifery leadership in a digital health context and how its impact on patient and service outcomes might be measured.

The review also identified a lack of national and international infrastructure to support the nursing and midwifery contribution to digital health policy leadership and a significant gap in the current evidence addressing the ‘jobs’ domain of the WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery, despite the workforce being a key factor in the successful delivery of digital health services.

This PhD aims to address the first two of these gaps to guide future practice.

The study aims to:

  1. Explore nursing and midwifery experiences of leading digital health policy and practice.
  2. Identify how the nursing and midwifery leadership contribution may be enhanced within a multi-disciplinary context.
  3. Explore the applicability of a new digital leadership framework in the nursing and midwifery context.
  4. Provide policy recommendations for maximising the health gains from healthcare digitalisation by more effectively using nursing and midwifery leadership.

Study design: This will be co-designed with key stakeholders in international digital health services policy and practice leadership during the first stage of the project, but is likely to entail a mixed methods study involving, for example: documentary analysis of digital leadership policy and roles in nursing and midwifery, in-depth qualitative interviews, and an online survey/diary study.

Access to digital health leaders will be facilitated via the professional networks of the study advisory group members and their links, e.g. Chief Nursing Informatics Officer for England’s International Advisory Panel, and the WHO Europe Digital Flagship Programme.

Study advisory group: An established group of nursing and midwifery leaders from across Europe with relevant academic and practice expertise in this topic area will support the study as members of an advisory group.

Together with the supervisory team, this will enable the PhD scholar to draw on additional specialist expertise and use relevant digital health networks, providing high quality avenues for dissemination to maximise the reach and impact of the project, as well as additional opportunities for personal development.

Training and development: The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills, including first authoring academic papers. All PhD researchers at ARU are part of the Doctoral School, which provides support, including high-quality training and career development activities.

In addition to meeting the university’s PhD admission criteria, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate:

  • Excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and also as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Previous experience of healthcare and/or digital health.
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within three years.

If you would like to discuss this research project, please contact Gillian Janes: [email protected]

Apply online by 3 March 2024

Funding notes

The successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship which covers the tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. For 2023/4 this was £18,622 per year. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship terms and conditions. Please note that the University asserts the right to claim any intellectual property generated by research it funds.

Download the full terms and conditions.