Professor Candy McCabe Reflects On New Beginnings in Nursing and Research

Spring feels well and truly here, and it brings with it the excitement of new opportunities. In recent weeks there have been new beginnings and new learning present in my own clinical research practice.

Colleagues and I have just published in ‘Pain’, the first internationally agreed core outcome measurement set for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome clinical studies ( This now enables the pooling of data across countries, and the conduct of global cohort studies to advance our understanding and treatment of this relatively rare and highly disabling condition. This is a momentous step for those working in this field, and for the patients we hope that our work will help in the future.

This month I sat on the interview panel for a new PhD student to join my research group. The project of our successful applicant will focus on exploring the clinical interaction between a person with chronic pain, and their treating physiotherapist, in order to optimise communication and treatment outcomes. That said, like any PhD, the starting point rarely predicts the finishing point; the new knowledge learnt along the way can often lead in unexpected directions. I look forward to seeing how both this project, and our new student, develops along the way.

Finally, I attended the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s Summit this week, where delegates heard from Prof Jane Cummings, our CNO, what her plans are for the nursing profession in the next five years. Our ageing population, with increasing multi-morbidities, very much influenced her plans in terms of education needs for nursing personnel and increasing the nursing workforce in the community.  Technology will become an ever-larger part of our working lives, helping to support people to live well, and safely within their own homes. As part of this promotion of care at home, Prof Cummings launched ‘The Last 1000 days’, a beautiful poem by Molly Case, herself a nurse, that describes an elderly women’s experience of moving from hospital to home for her last 1000 days. You can hear this poem read by Molly, and watch the accompanying video on You tube, but be warned, have the tissues ready!


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