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Leading Southampton nurse researcher named to international hall of fame

Published:?16?March?2020
Professor Sue Latter
Professor Sue Latter's research has 'influenced the nursing profession and the people it serves'.

Professor Sue Latter from the University of Southampton is to be inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.

Professor Latter’s induction comes in recognition not only of her sustained and significant national and international work but also as someone whose research has influenced the profession and the people it serves. The honour is bestowed by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing which works to develop, connect and empower nurse leaders transforming global healthcare around the world.

“I was delighted to be nominated and equally delighted to be joining such a prestigious group of international nurse researchers and scholars,” Professor Latter enthused. “At one level it’s important having nursing in particular recognised as a discipline that’s engaged in research. It’s also about teams these days – teams of healthcare professionals that embrace nurses who can contribute to team-based research on healthcare problems which require a multi-disciplinary approach to solve them.”

At Southampton, Professor Latter leads the Medicines Optimisation research group in the University’s School of Health Sciences focusing, in her own words, on “how we help people take medicines in the best way for their health and how we support health professionals to prescribe in the best way possible.”

“Much of the research has focused on how we train, educate, support and equip professionals with the right skills to talk to patients about their medicines and to prescribe in the best way possible,” she explained. “So, it is partly about understanding patient experience then building on that to develop successful interventions.”

Over the years, Professor Latter has seen her career develop from practising nurse to researcher but with a keen eye on practice and practice-based issues which she believes are essential to ensuring the success of projects she and her colleagues are engaged in on a range of issues related to how patients take and make the most of their medicines.

“There are a number of elements to our research,” she continued. “It’s about understanding patients’ experience of taking medicines – for example, we’re running a large study at the moment investigating how people access palliative care medicines in the community, building on our previous research into supporting end of life self-management of medicines. It’s really important for patients and carers to be able to understand medicines and take them to the best of their ability so they can stay in their homes and manage symptoms.

“We’ve also led national studies funded by the Department of Health on prescribing of medicines by nurses and pharmacists, evaluating the safety and quality of both nurse and pharmacist prescribing,” she concluded.

Professor Latter is also a champion for creating opportunities for pre-registration and early career nurses to become involved in research themselves, using her own experience as a basis for encouraging others.

“My interest in research came through my degree, as an undergraduate in nursing, and the work we’ve done here at Southampton has been very much trying to ensure there are career pathways for nurses to be able to do the same, so they can combine clinical practice with research, right from a junior stage through to PhD and beyond to Professor,” she added. “Clinical academics can do that – carry on with practice and register for a PhD – which historically has been difficult for nurses, but we’ve created pathways here at Southampton for nurses to do that and we’ve seen an increasing number of them do that which is a great result.”

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