Swansea University research student wins best new researcher award at Hywel Dda Inspiring Innovation in Practice Conference

Janet Bower, a Senior Sister at Pembrokeshire Haematology and Oncology Day Unit and a student at the College of Human and Health Sciences’ Department of Nursing, was named the best new researcher at this year’s Hywel Dda Inspiring Innovation in Practice Conference.

Janet Bower

Picture: Janet (centre) is pictured receiving her award from Bernadine Rees, Chair of Hywel Dda Health Board now and John Gammon, Hywel Dda Health Board Independent Board Member and Deputy Head of the College of Human and Health Science (Innovation, Engagement and Organisational Development).

Janet is researching the needs and concerns of adult haematology patients who have completed their active cancer treatment in rural West Wales and hopes to inform future development of cancer services to improve the patient experience.

Janet previously graduated from Swansea University’s nursing programme and is now an RCBC (Tenovus) First into Research Fellow, spending one day a week on her research alongside her role as a Senior Sister.

RCBC Wales is funded by the Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales and is a collaboration between six university nursing and allied health departments in Wales. Its aim is to increase research capacity in nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions across Wales.

She said: “I been working on my research for around 12 months and was really inspired to explore this work after seeing so many people struggle once they leave the active treatment phase.  I am first and foremost a Chemotherapy Nurse, I am proud to be a clinical nurse and to be in practice, working day to day to administer treatments and support patients locally.  I believe in the value of nurses doing research alongside their clinical practice and keeping the work rooted in the reality of nursing.

“I am very passionate about the project, it has been a privilege to be able to spend the time with the participants and really absorb their stories.  I believe the results are going to have a huge impact on practice, but I will say, I don't think it’s going to be in the way I expected, rather small changes that are easy to implement in practice but should make such a difference to the patients.

“I was incredibly shocked to receive the award, it was my first conference presentation and I did feel very nervous. It was a fantastic day and I was delighted to have been a part of it. I really hope that I can encourage more nurses to feel positive about exploring the problems that they encounter in practice and to use research to move them forward.  I think we can encourage all nurses, at all levels to feel a part of impacting real, patient centred change and to feel that they have a voice in this.”

Janet’s supervisor Dr Tessa Watts said:  “I am delighted that Janet has been recognised for her research at this event and my sincere congratulations go out to her. Janet’s early findings indicate the importance of her research in terms of the potential to inform the future development of cancer services in rural West Wales and the positive impact on people who are approaching the end of their cancer treatments in this part of the country. Janet is an inspirational research fellow and a dedicated cancer nurse. Her passion for her work, supporting people living with and beyond cancer and improving services knows no bounds. It is a privilege to work with her and to watch her grow and develop as a clinical researcher.”