Prestigious Allied Health Professional Fellowship awarded to Ruth

Ruth Nightingale has been awarded a Kidney Research UK Fellowship for renal research to support 13-18 year olds to become independent at managing their chronic kidney disease.

Ruth Nightingale, an Occupational Therapist (OT), has recently been awarded a prestigious Allied Health Professional Fellowship from Kidney Research UK. This new fellowship is an important development, supporting allied health professionals and nurses to undertake renal research, develop their research interests and career, and obtain a higher degree. Ruth has registered for her PhD at the School of Healthcare, University of Leeds and will be supervised by Professors Veronica Swallow and Linda McGowan.

Ruth will be developing and testing a young person-led self-management action plan (S-MAP) to support 13-18 year olds to become independent at managing their chronic kidney disease.

Ruth said, "As an OT, I'm particularly interested in how children and young people with long-term conditions and disabilities develop independence, including self-management and decision-making skills. The PhD Fellowship award will support me in developing my career in applied health research that will benefit children with kidney disease, other long-term conditions and disabilities, and their families."

Research background

In 2011, after having worked in the NHS with children and adults with disabilities for over 10 years and completing a MSc whilst working full time clinically, Ruth decided to take the step into research – working for a year on a Kids Kidney Research (KKR) funded study led by Veronica exploring how parents of children with kidney disease learn to share management with health professionals. Since then, Ruth has worked on two further studies with Veronica and the UK children's kidneys teams (one funded by KKR and one by the British Renal Society) as well as working in patient and public involvement in research at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

Exciting research and development 

Professor Carl Thompson, Director of Research said, “We are delighted to host Ruth and her planned programme of exciting research and development. Ruth is exactly the kind of clinical academic the NHS needs and we are proud that the School of Healthcare is able to help develop her career and contribution to improving healthcare for people with kidney disease.”

Dr Rachel Lennon, Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science, Lead for Academic Clinical Fellows, Honorary Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist and Research Secretary of BAPN (British Association for Paediatric Nephrology), Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester commented, “Ruth’s award is a fantastic achievement and I’m sure it will inspire other allied health professionals in Paediatric Nephrology to consider clinical-academic careers.”

About the self-management action plan (S-MAP)

A summary of the S-MAP study is included below, and you can read more about Kidney Research UK’s Allied Health Professional Fellowship here.

S-MAP study summary: Developing independence and autonomy can be challenging for young people, particularly if they have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Parents and health-care professionals (HCP) work with young people to help them develop their independence in health-care, but there are limited tools to help with this.

This study includes:

1) Interviews to find out how young people learn to manage CKD

2) Workshops to develop a self-management action plan (S-MAP) to help prepare young people to take charge of their own health-care

3) Young people, their parents and HCPs will try out the S-MAP and let us know their views on it.