Name: Dr Catherine Henshall

Job Title: NIHR Associate Director of Nursing
Reader in Nursing, Oxford Brookes University

Career Background
I trained as an adult branch nurse at Nottingham University and my clinical background is in oncology nursing and latterly, as an cancer research delivery nurse. I undertook a PhD at the University of Birmingham in Public Health in 2012 entitled Self-management strategies for cancer survivors, who does what and why? Following that I held various research fellow posts, including with the CLARHC West Midlands. In 2016 I moved to Oxford and took on a joint clinical academic nursing role at Oxford Brookes University and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. In 2020, I was appointed as NIHR Associate Director of Nursing and Midwifery, alongside my clinical academic role, and am Programme Director for the 70@70 Senior Nurse and Midwife Research Leader Programme.

Current Research
Workforce Development (including community); cancer survivorship and self-management, mental health.

Research Experience
I am Principal Investigator on numerous studies and am well published in peer reviewed academic journals. I have an i10 index of 19 and an h index of 15 (Google Scholar. I am currently a Reader in Nursing at Oxford Brookes University, NMAHP Research Lead and Co-Director of the Oxford Health Clinical Research Facility.

Tenured academic.

NIHR funding, Nursing and Midwifery.

One great thing that your profession has achieved for Nursing and Midwifery practice
Nurses have demonstrated their huge value in developing research innovations that can support and enhance practice across a huge variety of clinical settings and can lead to nurse feeling empowered to evolve as research leaders of the future.

My career has taken many twists and turns and has at times moved away from the traditional nursing career progression pathway. Though I started my career as a surgical nurse, I quickly moved into oncology where I worked for many years as a staff nurse, chemotherapy day case nurse and latterly as an oncology research nurse. This renewed my interest in developing my research ideas and I undertook an NIHR funded Masters in Research Methods. Following this I moved from Nottingham to Birmingham to undertake an NIHR funded PhD in Public Health. This focused on my clinical interests, examining the reasons why cancer survivors choose to incorporate various self-management strategies such as exercise, diet and complementary therapies, into their daily lives at different timepoints along their cancer pathway. Following this I worked in a number of research fellow positions, undertaking projects related to cancer, but also diabetes and maternal health.

When I moved to Oxford in 2016 to take up my current role it was because the role enabled me to work as a clinical academic, through a joint appointment between Oxford Brookes University and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. This was novel for me as until that point I had had to choose to work either purely clinically, or solely as an academic. However, the role involved a step change as Oxford Health is a community and mental health trust, and I had been used to working in acute settings, and so I found that a lot of my research interests began to focus around these areas.

Today, my research interests are broad. I still undertake research into cancer care and self-management, however, my research portfolio has expanded to include issues relating to workforce development, mental health and community nursing care. At Oxford Health I am the NMAHP Lead for Research and work to develop research opportunities for nurses across the Trust. My role with the NIHR as Associate Director of Nursing is all about helping to create and foster research openings for nurse and midwives and to make sure that more nurses are enabled to lead, deliver and support research. This is crucial for the development of the profession and in the future it will be great to see more flexible research and practice roles becoming the norm for nurses and midwives across the whole NHS system.