CArDiNAL:  The ClinicAl Doctoral Nurses and ALlied Health Professionals network

CArDiNAL (ClinicAl Doctoral Nurses and ALlied Health Professionals) network is a unique collaboration between five universities and seven Trusts in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

CArDiNAL aims to support the development of clinical academic pathways for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professionals. Each collaborating university works with at least one NHS trust to develop a Clinical-Doctoral Fellowship (CDF) placement for Nurses, Midwives and Applied Health Professionals.

These fellowships provide an opportunity to adopt a balanced approach of integrating clinical practice and academic research training.

CArDiNAL is managed and coordinated by the CLAHRC, which supports the CArDiNAL Management committee and the cohort learning and support needs.

The White Rose University Consortium has supported the development of the Network and collaborative agreements

Currently seven Fellows are in place with another one due to start shortly. 

Meet the Yorkshire and Humber CArDiNAL Clinical- Doctoral Fellows


Susan Guthrie


I started my new role in October 2018 as a CArDINAL Clinical academic research fellow, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (aka SLT or SLP). The fellowship is hosted by University of Leeds with Leeds & York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

I have completed pilot work investigating dysphagia with people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions in my previous post in Lancashire (with Lancashire Care NHS Trust and Merseycare NHS Trust). I am looking forward to working in Leeds with adults with mental health conditions and developing my role as a research fellow, PhD student, and clinician.

I am interested in dysphagia (swallowing difficulties), choking and communication. I am also interested in the development of SLT competency in dysphagia. I started my PhD this year (1st November 2018) as a part time student at University of Leeds. A key aspect will be exploring the nature of choking incidents experienced by adults with mental health conditions and with intellectual disabilities. My interest in communication includes investigating accessible forms of information and research involvement of people with communication or cognitive difficulties.

I am involved with the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) as a Research Champion, RCSLT Clinical academic network, and as an author developing RCSLT guidance on safeguarding and delegating. I am also an Honorary Senior Lecturer with University of Technology, Sydney and developing collaboration with the new SLP department there.



Sarah Varga


The focus for my PhD project will be on sedation optimisation for the sedated and ventilated intensive care patient- Comparing the practices of key stakeholders. (A working project).










Sara Ma

An Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specialist Nurse at York Teaching Hospital. She is a trained Critical Care Nurse and has previously worked as an Anaesthetics and Critical Care Research Nurse and Perioperative Specialist Nurse.

Sara is hoping to explore Sexual Dysfunction in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) during her PhD. The physical and psychological impacts of this chronic disease mean that sexual dysfunction is a widely reported yet under-researched patient concern.

Sara hopes that by improving insight into patient experiences and mapping the causes of sexual dysfunction she will be able to improve nurse-led patient assessments, care plans and interventions.



Rebecca Haythorne

A Senior Occupational Therapist working within the Community Learning Disabilities Team at The Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT). Rebecca is working alongside Professor Steven Ersser and Dr Lina Gega to explore the concept of engagement between care givers and individuals with Learning Disabilities. 

In particular, Rebecca is interested in how the concept of engagement can be used to support and encourage individuals with Learning Disabilities participate in interventions designed for increasing physical activity, targeting prevalent unmet physical and mental health needs in the Learning Disability Population. 

Rebecca trained at Sheffield Hallam University on the MSc Post-Registration Occupational Therapy program, her Thesis explored service users’ experiences on accessing meaningful occupations in forensic settings. After qualifying in 2016, Rebecca worked on the Occupational Therapy rotational program at the LYPFT covering The Care Homes Team and The Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders before gaining a permeant position in The Community Learning Disabilities Team. 

To date Rebecca has had five articles published on the role of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy interventions across various clinical settings and has presented her Thesis research at the 2016 Royal College of Occupational Therapy Conference.



Lucy Hall

A newly qualified adult nurse, Lucy is working part-time within Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. Her research interests include chronic wounds, clinical judgement and decision making. She is yet to finalise her research question, but her project will explore diabetic foot ulcer infections and the associated diagnostic issues. Her Supervisory Team includes: Professor Carl Thompson, Dr Una Adderley, Professor Jane Nixon MBE and Dr Heather Iles-Smith."










Caroline Reynolds


Project title to be decided - topic area "Dementia care"