University of Nottingham: Clinical supervision and a peer research support network

Academics at the University of Nottingham developed an approach to supporting student wellbeing, which focuses on resilience-based clinical supervision for student nurses. This encourages students ‘to pay attention and apply reasoning to behaviours and responses to emotive scenarios through a process of stress alleviation and prevention’. As a result of this work, students had an increased perception of the importance of self-care whilst maintaining their commitment to the care of others. This approach had a continued positive effect six months after registration. This model is detailed and evaluated in this article. A facilitator guide has also been created to enable the further sustainability and reach of this intervention. These resources are open access and hosted online by the Foundation of Nursing Studies.

Also at Nottingham, two PhD students saw an opportunity to establish a peer research network of students with lived experience of their research areas, which focused on mental wellbeing. More students were identified via word of mouth and an informal peer support network was created.

Key actions taken:

  • Students formally launched the group ‘The Association of Mental Health Peer Researchers’ on 10 October 2019, World Mental Health Day. The association is open to anyone in a research post at the University of Nottingham, involved in mental health and/or trauma research and who self-identifies as having lived experience of their research topic.
  • The association was created to raise the profile of research in this area and offers peer support to members. Meetings have been organised for researchers to discuss the importance of experiential knowledge and lived expertise in research.
  • The group seeks to recognise the unique challenges of those with ‘dual’ or ‘hybrid’ identities (with both lived and learned expertise). This includes looking at issues around disclosure, potential triggers for members conducting research, being both ‘inside’ (a peer) and ‘outside’ (a researcher) the research population, and of coping with the emotional labour of research. The group aims to offer a safe space to discuss concerns.


Currently the association has members from across four schools: Health Sciences, Psychology, Medicine, and Law and Social Sciences. The group has been meeting on a monthly basis since October 2019. The meetings have included discussions on how to carry out peer research in a safe and supportive way, potential funding options, and different models of peer research. There are plans in place for external speakers and researchers to present to the association and help develop its communications strategy.

The association now has a Twitter account @AssocMHPRes which is used to circulate information about the group’s work. A formal evaluation is still in progress; however, members have reported positive feedback about the association.