A Q&A with one of CLAHRC GM’s #nurseheroes – A celebration of Support and Achievement on International Nurses Day


A Q&A with one of CLAHRC GM’s #nurseheroes

– A celebration of Support and Achievement on International Nurses Day –

Jo Stevens: One of NIHR CLAHRC GM’s #nurseheroes


At NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester we are very proud to support the professional development of nurses through our internship programme which aims to provide an introduction to research for registered nurses and Advanced Healthcare Practitioners (AHPs) interested in pursuing a clinical academic career in the future.  To mark International Nurses Day we caught up with former intern, Jo Stevens, Stroke Specialist Nurse and team lead for the Bury Community Stroke Team at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, to see how that experience has helped her to progress in the profession she loves, this is what she had to tell us:

  • Please tell us a little about your current role?

I’ve been a qualified nurse for 16 years and I’ve been lucky enough to find an area of nursing I really love. I’ve worked in all areas of stroke care, from acute, through to rehabilitation and now community, as well as research.  My current position as a Stroke Specialist Nurse and Team Lead for the Bury Community Stroke Team is both a clinical and strategic role in the Bury stroke service, ensuring that the service is innovative and delivers high quality care, while maintaining that clinical knowledge and patient contact.

  • What aspects of your nursing career have given you the most job satisfaction?

The biggest impact I see is when people are helped to take control of their own health. Seeing someone who is confident in their ability to manage and who understands their condition gives me great pleasure as they are captains of their own destiny, and not so reliant on the healthcare system.

  • How did you find out about the NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester Internship Programme?

I learnt about the programme through the Greater Manchester Stroke Operational Delivery Network and I hoped it would give me the opportunity to devote time to a project that I would be unable to otherwise study in such detail – which it did.

  • What drew you to undertake the internship programme, when did you enrol and what did you hope to gain from it?

I started the CLAHRC GM internship in April 2016. I was keen to use the expertise of the professionals involved in CLAHRC and beyond to further my knowledge, and potentially make a contribution to stroke nursing knowledge and practice eventually.

  • Did the internship meet your expectations and, if so, how?

The internship has been a great experience; the team are extremely supportive and knowledgeable. I found meeting others practising in different areas of healthcare and those who are successfully carving out a clinical research role, inspiring and exciting.  It can be extremely difficult to find time to complete the work alongside a clinical role, but great support from the team at CLAHRC and face-to-face meetings help to keep things on track.

  • How has the internship helped you to enhance your experience and skills? And, do you have any plans to further build on that in the future?

I would love to build on this by continuing to research the area and practically apply what I’ve learnt. The internship gave me the opportunity to practice research skills such as literature review, research methods and writing skills. I have successfully submitted a poster to the Stroke Forum, and hope to build on that with more papers and presentations.

  • Would you recommend the internship to nursing colleagues and why?

I would have no hesitation in recommending the internship for all the skills and confidence it has given me.

  • What makes you proud of your profession and how has the CLAHRC GM internship supported that?

Nursing is a fantastic profession. I love the privilege it gives you to help people when they need it most.  The internship programme has helped me experience first-hand how nurses’ involvement in research can really change the way patients are cared for – patients are partners in their care, and can take on more than you might imagine, given the right support.

Jo Stevens’ research focused on ‘Talking about sex after stroke – How, what and when: A stroke survivor perspective’.

NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester is currently in the process of delivering a second cohort of interns on the research internship programme, which includes nurses and AHPs from a range of different clinical areas.

The internships comprise of 30 days committed time which includes a one and a half day introductory workshop, a one-day mid-programme workshop and a final event where interns are required to give an oral presentation, reflecting on how their research skills have developed over the period of the internship.

The internships are an excellent opportunity to experience research and evaluation in a short, inspiring and interactive programme.  To find out more, please contact Dr Carianne Hunt or Lorraine Burey.