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Personal profile

Research interests

Donna's research interests are in the fields of health and justice  nursing - both in the UK and internationally. A particular aspect includes the history of prison nursing within the wider context of nursing history. Donna's research interests also encompass community health and community nursing with an emphasis on reducing/addressing health inequalities within marginalised and vulnerable groups.

For her PhD research Donna is exploring prison nursing identity from a historical perspective using oral history as jer methodology. In 1984, Nurses were introduced into Her Majesty's Prison Service in England and Wales; there has been no research into how nurses adapted to this environment. The aim of Donna's research is to illuminate the experiences of prison nurses between 1984 and the present day.  

An understanding of the historical context from which prison nursing emerged is necessary to appreciate the current situation within prison nursing and the impact of early prison nurses’ experiences on the shaping of prison nursing professional identity. Using an oral history approach allows ‘lesser heard’ voices space to tell their story from their perspective. 

This work is important because prison nurses’ work in the United Kingdom remains unseen and suffers from poor recruitment and retention. Custody occurs to offenders as an outcome of legal justice; care, and the provision of healthcare, occurs as the outcome of social justice. The tension for prison nursing, therefore, lies in the requirement to provide socially just care within a legally just system. The ‘hiddenness’ of the multiple challenges that exist must be articulated and made ‘visible’ if the future of a professional prison healthcare service is to be positive and forward-thinking. 

The title of her thesis is: The evolution of prison nursing in England and Wales and the impact of early prison nurses’ experience on the shaping of professional identity. 

Supervisory Interests

Donna enjoys supervising master's level students whose topic areas are based within primary care. Examples of dissertation topics include exploration of the factors that influence the prescribing decision-making of nurse prescribers in acute care in relation to antibiotics; clinical supervision and advanced nurse practitioners in general practice; health promotion and substance misuse. 

Scholarly biography

Donna is a Senior Lecturer in Community Nursing and is pathway lead for General Practice Nursing within the Community Specialist Practice Masters and BSc (Hons) courses. Donna's clinical background was in primary care across a number of settings such as homelessness services and the UK Health and Justice System in various clinical leaderhsip and service management roles. Donna is a strong advocate for providing career progression and all aspects of professional development for nurses working in these challenging yet rewarding environments as well as within mainstream primary care. To this end, Donna co-developed and now leads a work-based learning module to facilitate the transition into primary care of newly qualified nurses and 'new to general practice' nurses. Donna has also published in the field of prison nursing and has presented at several international conferences on the topics of professional identity and social justice. As a non medical prescriber herself, Donna supports General Practice Nurses (GPNs) and other healthcare practitioners in their prescribing studies on the independent prescribing programme offered at the University. She also co-authored an independent prescribing textbook for GPNs.

Approach to teaching

Donna's approach to teaching and learning is reflective of and grounded in adult learning theory. Her approach is facilitative with an emphasis on mentoring and coaching allowing students to explore their evolving specialist practice roles and encouraging clinical leadership qualities to emerge through experiential learning.

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Social Care Education, University of Brighton

Award Date: 18 Oct 2011

Master, Nurse Practitioner, University of Brighton

Award Date: 28 Jun 2007

Extended Nurse Prescribing, University of Brighton

Award Date: 12 Mar 2003

Bachelor, Community Specialist Practice -General Practice Nursing, University of Brighton

Award Date: 21 Sept 2001

External positions

External Examiner, University of Central Lancashire


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  • Decision-making for prescribing

    Blaber, A., Ingram, H., Gorman, J. & Goddard, D., 31 Oct 2021, Independent Prescribing for General Practice Nurses.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review