UWE Bristol researcher awarded fellowship by Royal College of Nursing

Media Relations Team, 15 May 2023

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Nikki Cotterill award
Prof Nikki Cotterill received a fellowship at the RCN’s annual congress awards ceremony.

A UWE Bristol researcher has received a fellowship from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Nikki Cotterill, a Professor in Continence Care in the College of Health, Science and Society, was given the prestigious title at the RCN’s annual congress awards ceremony.

The RCN Fellowship is the highest honour given to its members. Prof Cotterill is only the second UWE Bristol staff member to receive the title, after Professor Sarah Hewlett in 2011.

According to the RCN, its fellows are inspirational leaders who have made an exceptional contribution to nursing and improving health care. A distinguished community of professionals, Fellows work with the RCN to influence policy, practice, education and research. In doing so, they lead and influence change for the benefit of nursing and patients.

Prof Cotterill, also Director of Bristol Health Partners’ Bladder and Bowel Confidence Health Integration Team (BABCON HIT), is committed to changing the narrative around continence care, empowering people to self-help and improving continence education and training. With nationwide partners, she spearheaded the development of the CONfidence app to support people with continence issues.

The app, which has been downloaded thousands of times since its launch in 2021, was the first of its kind in the subject area and aimed to address inequalities in care for patients with pelvic floor disorders and to improve services for the future, as well as providing support and advice to people suffering in silence with continence issues. The app earned national recognition, winning the Nursing Times Awards 2021 Continence Promotion and Care prize.

Last year, Prof Cotterill presented an insights report reflecting the lived experiences of people affected by bladder and bowel control issues to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Bladder and Bowel Continence Care at the House of Commons. The Voices for Change report was the result of a partnership project between the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), Bristol Health Partners BABCON HIT and Disruptive Thinking.

Colleagues at UWE Bristol said: “Nikki is a tremendous asset to the School of Health and Social Wellbeing and an inspirational researcher. Nikki has been a registered nurse for 24 years and in this time she has dedicated much of her career to conducting research to improve the care provided to people with bladder and bowel leakage and to promoting proactive continence self-help, to improve the experience for people with these symptoms.

“She is a passionate advocate for people with bladder and bowel leakage and is always enthusiastic to take opportunities to this end in many and varied ways complementary to research activities.”

One of the expert patients Prof Cotterill has worked with over many years said: “In terms of commitment, research, experience and dedication, Nikki has it all in abundance, and in creating the CONfidence app in such a collaborative fashion, she has truly made an exceptional contribution to healthcare.”

Prof Cotterill said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to become a Fellow at the Royal College of Nursing. Many congratulations to all who received awards this year – I am in fantastic company.”

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