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PhD in Exploring Resilience in Contemporary Nursing (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R2315
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: full UK/EU fees, plus Stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

RCN Wales and Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences announce an exciting opportunity for a graduate nurse to explore the demands of frontline nursing in Wales.

The study will employ mixed methods and will draw on the experiences of nurses across Wales using survey methods, followed by in-depth case studies in contrasting areas of nursing practice. 

Project title: Exploring Resilience in Contemporary Nursing Roles in Wales

This studentship will provide the opportunity for high quality research training that explores contemporary pressures facing nurses in Wales, and how resilience within the nursing workforce can be better understood and, hopefully, enhanced.

This project would dovetail with existing research at Cardiff University including attitudes to whistleblowing in older people’s care, and research into the impact on the workforce of developing anticipatory care.

This project will help reveal subtle organisational factors that shape standards of care, and the importance of understanding the pressures facing nurses in different contexts (Lloyd et al, 2011). In this study it will also be possible to detail how Welsh nurses feel about their work and how they manage conflicting demands.

The research studentship will allow this topic to be investigated in more depth by examining how, for instance, an individual staff member's personal, moral and professional resilience is shaped by the work they do; by those around them (including the people they care for and the team in which they work), as well as the employing organisation as a whole.

By understanding these contextual factors we aim to identify novel ways to develop personal, professional and moral resilience in the workplace. The main contribution to knowledge will be increased awareness of contemporary issues facing Welsh nurses, theory development and the gathering of practical suggestions for possible interventions to enhance resilience in the longer term.

Supervisors: Prof. Daniel Kelly & Prof. Andy Smith

Start date: 1st October 2014

Number of Studentships: 1


This studentship is generously funded by the Royal College of Nursing. It consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend (£20,000 p.a. for Year 1, increasing by £1,000 p.a in Years 2 and 3). 

Additional funding of £2,000 p.a. is available to cover conference attendance, fieldwork or research expenses as well as other project-specific expenses. 


Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students without further restrictions.

Academic criteria: Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a 2.1 UK honours degree or higher or a  Master's degree in a relevant subject.

Additionally, it is desirable that the applicant possess some or all of the following;

  • knowledge and understanding of research methods as evidenced by study at postgraduate and/or undergraduate level,
  • have a Master's degree in a relevant subject or some evidence of M level study,
  • have at least two years of fieldwork/clinical experience,
  • evidence of continuing professional development,
  • demonstrated enthusiasm for the chosen area of research. 

English language criteria: Applicants for whom English is not their first language will be asked to demonstrate that their level of English is sufficient to meet the University's minimum requirements. Applicants should have

  • EITHER taken the British Council International English Language Test (IELTS), academic version, and achieved an overall result of at least 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in all elements. The test must have been taken, and score achieved, within two years of the date of commencement of the proposed research degree 
  • OR successfully completed a taught masters degree , taught entirely through the medium of English and have completed the qualification no more than TWO years prior to the proposed start date of the programme. In the cases of the qualification having been completed overseas applicants will be required to provide written proof form the awarding institution.

How to Apply

In the first instance, you should submit a CV & Covering Letter to Liz Harmer-Griebel by emailing candidates will then be invited to submit a standard application for Postgraduate Study via the Online Application Service.

The deadline for applications is 4:30pm on 15th August 2014.

Interviews will take place on 1 September 2014.

Cardiff University reserves the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.

Further Information

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof. Daniel Kelly by emailing

About the School

The student will register as a full-time PhD student in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University. The School provides a supportive learning environment and hosts a vibrant postgraduate research community with over 80 students currently undertaking studies at this level. The University’s graduate College supports students further and provides training across a wide range of research methods. The lead supervisor will be Professor Daniel Kelly, RCN Chair in Nursing Research and Director of Research & Innovation, with Professor Andy Smith in the School of Psychology. 

General information on the Royal College of Nursing can be found on their website.

General information on research within the School can be found on the School of Healthcare Science website.


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