Workforce Development

About us

The Workforce Development Research Group is co-Chaired by Dr Cathy Henshall and Dr Clair Merriman and was founded in 2021. The group’s aim is to build and develop an internationally recognised and vibrant research portfolio in the area of healthcare workforce development, with a focus on key funding priorities. This includes:

  • research in secondary, community based, social care and other out of hospital settings
  • a focus on health care staffing roles, skill mixes and training opportunities.

We are interested in exploring the best ways for staff to support patients who are living with long term conditions, as well as in examining ways to support the workforce to ensure it is resilient and engages with sustainable mechanisms for practice. We also engage with healthcare student bodies to actively involve them in research, as well as considering any ongoing changes to practice settings that may need evaluating or assessing.

Through the WDRG we promote and support a collaborative research culture. Membership includes early, mid and senior career researchers, as well as PhD and Masters students. We act as a forum for sharing and supporting practice developments that will inform current and future research activities, as well as knowledge exchange, innovation, teaching and policy.


Catherine L Henshall

Dr Catherine Henshall

Reader in Nursing Research

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Clair Merriman

Dr Clair Merriman

Reader in Nursing, Midwifery and AHP Clinical Research-OxInAHR and Divisional Research Lead for NMAHPPS- Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust

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Name Role Email
Dr Dan Butcher Senior Lecturer - Course Lead Professional Doctorate in Nursing
Ms Jill Childs Principal Lecturer for Social Work
Ms Julie Cooke Senior Lecturer and placement lead
Dr Zoe Davey Research Fellow
Dr Kathleen Greenway Senior Lecturer
Ms Jennifer Kirman Principal Lecturer (Student Experience)
Dr Olga Kozlowska Senior Lecturer in Research and Knowledge Exchange
Professor Mary Malone Researcher
Ms Sarah Neal Deputy Head Practice Education and Senior Lecturer Adult Nursing
Dr Sue Schutz Senior Lecturer
Linda Shimumbi Lecturer in Adult Nursing
Mrs Lorraine Whatley Senior Lecturer Simulation and Immersive Learning Technology


Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Hilary Brown Optimising the care and support for people with inoperable pancreatic cancer and their family-carers Professor Eila Watson, Dr Lucy McGeagh 2023
Julie Cooke Academic nurse educators’ experiences of preparing and supporting nursing students for clinical placements in nursing homes: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Dr Kathleen Greenway, Dr Sue Schutz 2022
Samantha Jane Donohue What is the experince of professional enjoyment in nursing? 2022
Owen Gustafson Evaluating the musculoskeletal health state of Intensive Care Unit survivors: The MSK-ICU study (led by OUH) Dr Mark Williams, Professor Helen Dawes


Lian Lee Registered nurses' communication experiences in Robotic-Assisted Surgery Dr Kathleen Greenway, Dr Sue Schutz



Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

COV-ed Nurse

This UK wide study will use audio diaries and interviews to amplify and analyse the voices of student nurses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as they describe clinical practice in the time of Covid-19.

Professor Mary Malone ESRC From: November 2020
Until: May 2022

Patient Safety in Critical Care COV-19

Registered Nurses’ Experiences and Perceptions of Patient Safety in Critical Care during Covid-19. This project seeks to explore the emergency changes to critical care capacity, delivery and staffing during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is critical that we evaluate the decisions made and strategies employed to learn and evolve our clinical practice.

Dr Clair Merriman, Dr Louise Stayt Burdett Trust for Nursing From: February 2021
Until: February 2022

Listen, Share, Hold, Respond

A multi-site, participatory consultation project to understand the psycho-spiritual experiences and support needs of BAME NHS workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Concurrently, an evaluation and adaptation of existing psycho-spiritual supportive interventions (recovery and renewal days/webinars) provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT) and the Oxford Centre for Spirituality and Wellbeing (OCSW) to underpin development of a psycho-spiritual toolkit to meet the needs of NHS workers across the UK.

Dr Catherine Henshall NHS England From: April 2021
Until: April 2022


Resolution (Resilience enhancement online training for nurses in the COVID-19 environment: transitioning from face-to-face to online learning). The purpose of the study is to pilot a new online tool which aims to foster resilience to some of the clinical and workload pressures that nurses encounter on a daily basis.

Dr Catherine Henshall Burdett Trust for Nursing From: March 2021
Until: May 2022