Patients in Birmingham will benefit from the appointment of a new Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Practice Research, who will follow the celebrated social reformer’s role in reviewing and developing evidence to deliver the highest quality care to patients.

The appointment, made by the Florence Nightingale Foundation in partnership with The University of Birmingham and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, will see Professor Debbie Carrick-Sen become the first Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Practice Research in the Midlands.

The chair is the sixth such position in the UK and follows appointments in Cardiff, Cambridge, Manchester and London.

Professor Carrick-Sen, currently Head of Research for Nursing and Midwifery at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has many years’ experience in clinical nursing and midwifery research, practice and practice development.

She has specialised in the mental health of mothers and fathers before and after the birth of a baby, which has been identified as a national clinical and research priority for the coming year. Her research has included work into the preparation of parents for twin and multiple births, and the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in parents following high risk childbirth.

Professor Fiona Irvine, Head of Nursing at The University of Birmingham, said:  “This is a splendid achievement for nursing and midwifery in Birmingham. Nurses and midwives make an important contribution to the development of evidence-based healthcare through their research; and this appointment really reinforces this position.  We look forward to gaining from her experience and ensuring that our own nursing and midwifery research translates to the clinical setting where patients can benefit  directly.”

Sam Foster, Chief Nurse at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Birmingham, added: “We are delighted to have jointly appointed a Chair in Clinical Nursing and Midwifery Practice Research in partnership with The University of Birmingham, School of Health and Population Sciences. Supported by the Florence Nightingale Foundation, the Chair will work closely with our nursing and midwifery teams at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust to further enhance the quality of nursing and midwifery care delivered to our patients through the application and advancement of clinical research.”

Professor Elizabeth Robb, Chief Executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said: “Professor Carrick-Sen’s appointment reflects our aim to support the creation of chairs in clinical nursing practice research and to work closely with academic bodies and healthcare organisations to develop evidence based practice.  This appointment adds to our network of Chairs around the country ensuring that the standards and values laid down by Florence Nightingale continue to resonate in nursing today.”

Professor Carrick-Sen said “It is a huge honour to be appointed to such a prestigious role. I am tremendously excited to be working in this innovative post supported by three outstanding organisations. Throughout my career I have been committed to conducting research of applied use to patient care, nursing, midwifery and health care organisations. This post offers a unique opportunity to expand on this research programme in a way that reflects the priorities of patients in Birmingham and the West Midlands.”  

A widely published author and speaker at national and international forums, Professor Carrick-Sen was nominated as one of top current 100 leaders in the NHS in 2012. She is Co Chair of the National Clinical Academic Training and Careers group, the work of which has resulted in the introduction of a sustainable high quality clinical academic training and career pathway for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals.


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The University of Birmingham was recognised for its commitment to academic excellence and innovation by being named The Times and Sunday Times University of the year 2013–14. Ranked by QS as 62nd in the world university rankings, Birmingham  is a leading member of the Russell Group (the Vice Chancellor is the current Chair) and a founder member of the Universitas 21 global network of research universities. The University is investing in our future, including an investment plan of over £200m in our stunning parkland campus which will see a new Library, Sports Centre and student accommodation, and world class academic appointments. We are long established as leaders in the field of health related research and we are committed to delivering a first-class experience for our students in every aspect of their university life.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest Hospital Trusts in England. It’s vision is “to provide services that inspire confidence, trust and pride within the communicates we serve”  and it provides services for a diverse range of communities through Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Chest Clinic.

The Trust is a world leader in tackling MRSA and specialises in treating patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses including heart and kidney disease, cancer, HIV and AIDS, as well as respiratory conditions like Cystic Fibrosis. It also has expertise in premature baby care, bone marrow transplants and thoracic surgery. To provide services that inspire confidence, trust and pride within the communicates we serve

The Florence Nightingale Foundation exists to support nurses and midwives with scholarships, mentoring and to give them the recognition they so richly deserve.  The Foundation raises vital funds to support this key group of clinical professionals by enabling study, promoting innovation in practice, at home and abroad, and extending knowledge and skills to enable nurses and midwives to meet changing needs and improve patient care.  At the heart of our Foundation is the continuation of the work of Florence Nightingale who began equipping senior nurses and midwives with the confidence to represent their profession at the very top levels of our health system.  Further information: