UWE researcher elected fellow of the Royal College of Nursing

Issue date: 08 April 2011

Professor Sarah Hewlett from the University of the West of England has been elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). It is the first time that this prestigious title has been awarded to a nurse at the University of the West of England.

Professor Hewlett spent the first 14 years of her nursing career in clinical care, with many years as a ward sister.  She then moved primarily into research, whilst continuing to provide a small clinical practice at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and now heads up an internationally recognised research group specialising inrheumatology - adaption, coping, flare, managing fatigue and an interest in measuring patient reported outcomes.  

Sarah and her UWE team of six researchers are based with collaborators from University of Bristol and the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust who work together to provide integrated rheumatology care, education and research. Their work on fatigue has led to international consensus that fatigue must be measured in all clinical trials of rheumatoid arthritis, putting it firmly on the international research agenda.

The award will be given at the RCN Congress on 10 April in Liverpool.  

Professor Hewlett says, “Being elected a Fellow is recognition of a substantial contribution to the nursing profession, which for me, relates to my research on fatigue, the patient perspective and collaboration with patients in research.

“I’m delighted to have received this recognition from my peers. I’m hoping that the award will inspire undergraduate nurses to see that it is possible to incorporate research into their clinical nursing careers. UWE has been very supportive in facilitating the work by our research unit and I’m also delighted for University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, which has supported our research with the patients at the BRI.

“This award reflects the work of the whole team, and also that of our patient collaborators. Our research unit places patients at the centre of all work and patients sit on all our research project committees as equal partners. Their contribution to our research methods and findings is critical.

“We are very lucky that we are based at the Rheumatology Clinic at the BRI as this makes patient centred research achievable.  Later this year I will be giving the keynote lecture at the RCN International Research Conference, on collaboration with patients in research, along with Pam Richards, one of our local patient partners. We are both delighted to have the opportunity to share good practice.”

Professor Robin Means, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at UWE, said, “Professor Hewlett’s work is groundbreaking in the way it puts patients at the centre of all research projects. We are thrilled that she has received this well deserved recognition.”

Kate Tompkins, Regional Director of the RCN, said, “We continue to enjoy close working relationships with the University which we value highly. I am delighted that Professor Hewlett’s contribution to nursing and patient care has been recognised by the Royal College of Nursing.” 


Editor’s notes

There are over 400,000 nurses in the Royal College, and there are only 50 Fellows, with 1-2 being elected each year, having been nominated by colleagues, with international peer-review and references.

The rheumatology research group from the University of the West of England, and the University of Bristol, have interests in adaption, coping, flare and fatigue and an interest in measuring patient reported outcomes (PROs) in rheumatoid arthritis. In particular they have led a body of research into fatigue in arthritis, including trials of self-management using cognitive behavioural therapy, and their work has led to international consensus that fatigue must be measured in all clinical trials. The research group at UWE comprises a range of health professionals and researchers, led by Professor Sarah Hewlett, arc Professor of Rheumatology Nursing. They are part of the Long Term Conditions research programme within the Centre for Clinical and Health research at UWE.

E-mail:Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.ukor Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers


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