Adaptation and Pilot Testing of the Registered Nursing Forecasting (RN4CAST) Nurse Survey for Use in the Ambulatory Chemotherapy Setting.

To improve the health and wellbeing of people receiving chemotherapy for cancers this PhD will adapt the RN4CAST tool, and undertake pilot testing of RN4CAST Chemotherapy Assessment Tool (RN4CAST-CAT) in South East England.

Start date

1 October 2021


36 months

Application deadline

Funding source

The University of Surrey, Project-led Studentship Award.

Funding information

  • Full tuition fee covered (UK, EU and International)

  • Stipend at £15,609 p.a. (2021/22)

  • Research Training Support Grant of £1,000 p.a.


A recent large international study, RN4CAST, aimed at predicting future nurse workforce requirements on acute and elderly inpatient wards, measured the effect on patient outcomes of variation in nursing environments, nurse-to-patient ratios, workload and the quality of the workplace. Results showed that, despite large variation in healthcare organisation and funding arrangements, increased burnout was linked to lower patient safety and quality of care. Conversely higher nurse staffing and skill mix were associated with lower mortality rates and shorter length of hospital stay. There are few studies exploring the work of chemotherapy nurses. The RN4CAST tool could potentially provide valuable insights into nursing workforce requirements in the chemotherapy day care setting and impact on patient outcomes if it were adapted to make it relevant to this setting. This PhD aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people receiving chemotherapy for cancers by adapting the RN4CAST tool.  

The PhD will comprise three phases:   

1 Revise RN4CAST:  

Systematic review of recent evidence to identify what the work of chemotherapy nurses entails and approaches to workload planning in day care units. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with chemotherapy day care unit nurses to understand their experience, knowledge and generate ideas for revised RN4CAST content. 

2. Content validation and survey design feedback 

RN4CAST-CAT will be tested using cognitive interviewing whereby interviewees ‘think aloud’ whilst answering the tool. Stakeholder panels will review/feedback on planned study design and methods. 

3. Pilot testing 

Conduct large-scale pilot testing of RN4CAST-CAT within the South East England to ascertain feasibility and acceptability of the tool and study design. 

Supervisory Team: 

Dr Jo Armes, Health Sciences, University of Surrey  

Dr Jenny Harris, Health Sciences, University of Surrey  


Prof Anne Marie Rafferty, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King’s College London 

Related links


The project will involve mixed methods research and work closely with NHS partners in South East England. We are looking for a student who feels passionately about conducting research with the cancer workforce, with a strong desire to engage in applied health research which has the potential to influence policy and practice. We are also looking for someone with excellent communication skills, experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and an interest in developing cancer-related research. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a good honours degree (upper second) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or health and social care may be acceptable. An MSc in an appropriate discipline is desirable.

This studentship is open to UK, EU and international students. 

IELTS requirements: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category. 


How to apply

All applications should be sent through the PhD Health Sciences course page.To apply potential students should complete a cover letter demonstrating their interest in, and suitability for, the project. We would also like a CV detailing your previous research experience, and two academic references. Students will also be required to complete the application form for PhD programmes in health sciences at the University of Surrey. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.  

Application deadline

Contact details

Jo Armes
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 684553


Cancer cluster 

The student will be allocated office space within the School of Health Sciences (Kate Granger Building). The School is based in a modern, purpose built, state of the art teaching facility on the University of Surrey campus in Guildford. 

Recruitment will be from cancer centres across South-East England and so some travel will be required (where permitted). Some interviews may be undertaken via Teams. 


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.