Professional Doctorate bears fruit

Margaret Orange

Published on 28 November 2017

A leading North East mental health nurse graduated this week five years after beginning her Professional Doctorate at our University.

Dr Margaret Orange began her career as a mental health nurse before professional progression led her to managing services, particularly in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. She took up the role of Treatment Effectiveness and Governance Manager in Addiction Services in Newcastle PCT and subsequently Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust seven years ago.

Since that time she has experienced many changes within the service, faced with a backdrop of significant changes in funding, however, her dedication to improve the lives of service users has always remained the same.

And to continue improving the way the service delivers treatment to patients, Dr Orange decided to structure her own research and share her knowledge on a national platform; the University of Sunderland’s Professional Doctorate scheme allowed her to do that while continuing to perform her day job.

The Professional Doctorate is the same level of academic qualification as a PhD, and is designed for experienced professionals who wish to undertake a programme that is applied in nature and of practical value to their career.

She now graduates this week at the Stadium of Light, as part of the University’s Winter Graduation Ceremonies.

She said: “Addiction is a key concern not only to policy-makers but to drug treatment commissioners and providers, as well as being responsible for significant impact on families and communities.

“I wanted to produce research in which lessons could be learned around the work that I already do, but it was more about having a clear process on which to structure the research with the academic foundations and evidence to support it.

“The Sunderland Professional Doctorate programme was excellent and facilitated the work I wanted to do in a supportive nurturing environment.

“It did take five years to complete and there were challenges along the way but as the programme is based on your day job, so it became an invaluable means of researching, dovetailing perfectly into my own work.

“I have certainly recommended other colleagues to take the opportunity and apply for the programme. It’s really satisfying to be finally graduating this week.”

Her doctorate research: Organisational Memory in the NHS: Development and delivery of a model to inform understanding, transfer and retention of lessons learnt in Addiction Services, is a model of knowledge management, underpinned by evidence based safety approaches not routinely used in NHS settings, which creates a constructive approach to learning and dissemination of that learning, but more crucially, to retaining the learning within practice. The work has been shared significantly to the community of practice: locally, regionally and nationally within the National Harm Reduction Network and Public Health England consultation.

Graduation ceremonies at the University of Sunderland mark the culmination of all of our students’ hard work as they are formally presented with their certificates and awards. The ceremony, held at the Stadium of Light, is a celebration of all of our graduating students’ achievements – a truly unforgettable day for them and their families.