Alison McLoughlin

Alison McLoughlin

National Institute for Health (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow

School of Nursing

Brook Building, BB445

+44 (0) 1772 89 4950

Subject Areas: Nursing and Midwifery

Alison is a National Institutes for Health (NIHR) Doctoral Research Fellow. Her specific area of interest for her fellowship is around neurological assessment and monitoring of stroke patients in the acute phase. She is a nurse by background with broad research interests across the stroke pathway but especially interested in aspects of nursing related to acute stroke care.

Social Media

Full Profile

Alison has worked in and alongside academic research since 2008. Immediately prior to her appointment as an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship she worked jointly as a stroke specialist nurse and academic research nurse at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHTR). Her academic research role was within the Clinical Academic Faculty (CAF) at LTHTR. The CAF is a collaboration between LTHTR and UCLan which supports individuals and teams across both organisations to develop collaborations and increase research capacity and capability. Throughout her career she has gained networks, specialist knowledge, training and skills in both stroke clinical practice and research.

She has worked on numerous studies in terms of set up, recruitment, data collection, data cleansing, validation and adverse event monitoring as would be expected from a clinical research nurse. However, she has had opportunities to develop skills and experience in multiple aspects of project design, delivery and dissemination.  These are what she hopes to further expand through her PhD to progress as an independent researcher.

Key studies she has been involved in delivering under supervision and the relevant skills, method experience, impact and outputs include:

Emergency Stroke Calls; Obtaining Rapid Telephone Triage (ESCORTT)

This introduced her to research and case note review as well as qualitative interviewing of staff, patients and carers and subsequent thematic analysis. Outputs from this study included an on-line training package informed by findings for Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD).

Acute Stroke Telemedicine: Utility Training and Evaluation (ASTUTE)

This study expanded her qualitative interview skills including over the phone as well as face to face interview techniques. It introduced her to Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) for the development of interview schedules and analysis of data around the implementation of complex interventions.  The team developed and tested an internet-based Standardised Telemedicine Toolkit (STT) alongside other collaborations and outputs.

Improving Cardiac Arrest Response and Effectiveness (ICARE)

Alison was instrumental in the development and adherence to data sharing agreements between other NHS organisations and academic institutions.

Head Position in Stroke Trial (HeadPoST)

Alison was part of the UK team that developed the DVD based training package for this global trial. She was also the joint PI for her Trust which expanded her skills in terms of oversight and governance of research.

In terms of research led she was co-investigator on Facilitating research amongst radiographers through Information Literacy workshops (FARRIL). The resources created as part of the project are available from the project website as well as evaluations and information on outputs to date.

Her MSc Dissertation was entitled “How reliable is the National Institute for Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) when rated by different members of the stroke multidisciplinary team from telemedicine recordings? “. It used secondary analysis of videos from ASTUTE to assess and calculate inter-rater reliability between different professional groups. She looked at factors related to training, experience and frequency of use to see if they impact on reliability of the scale in clinical and research practice. This project was an ideal precursor to her current PhD project.

Alison has been fortunate to gain experience in collaborating with patients and the public across many of the projects she has been involved with and has some established relationships. She looks forward to making new partnerships in this area through her Fellowship and beyond. Within the CAF she was co-facilitator in the setting up the Lancashire Research Advisory Group (LRAG) at the Trust. This now self-led group integrate into all aspects of the research strategy from deciding on the studies we deliver, providing advice on home grown research projects through to delivery of research projects and all the associated publicity and outputs.

To add to her clinical and research experience Alison has also been involved in developing and delivering training and teaching spanning professional boundaries, a role which she gets pleasure from. Over several years she been involved in the support and mentorship of numerous research interns and the inaugural Clinical Academic Trainees posts offered in collaboration with UCLan. In addition to Facilitating research amongst radiographers through Information Literacy workshops (FARRIL) and the subsequent Research Engagement Programme (REP) delivery she has also facilitated students undertaking Neurovascular Education and Training: Stroke Management and Acute Reperfusion Therapy (NETSMART) Junior courses.

  • MSc. Advanced Stroke Practice, University of Central Lancashire, 2017
  • NETSMART AP. Neurovascular Education and Training: Stroke Management and Acute Reperfusion Therapy Advanced Practice, Arizona State University, 2015
  • DipHE. Nursing (Adult), University of Central Lancashire, 2005


Bagot, K; Cadilhac, D; Bladin, C; Watkins, C; Vu, M; Donnan, G, Dewey H, Emsley, H; Davies, P; Day, E; Ford, G; Price, C; May, C; McLoughlin, A; Gibson, J & Lightbody, C on behalf of the VST and ASTUTE investigators. (2017) Integrating acute stroke telemedicine consultations into specialists’ usual practice: a qualitative analysis comparing the experience of Australia and the United Kingdom. BMC Health Services Research. 17:751.

Boaden, E; Lyons, M; Singhrao, SK; Dickinson, H; Leathley, M; Lighbody, CE; McLoughlin, A; Khan, Z; Crean, S; Smith, C; Higham, S & Watkins C. (2017) Oral flora in acute stoke patients: A prospective exploratory observational study. Gerodontology. 34, pp. 343-356.

Gibson, J; Lightbody, E; McLoughlin, A; Mcadam, J; Gibson, A; Dey, E; Fitzgerald, J; May, C; Price, C; Emsley, H; Ford, G & Watkins, C. (2015) ‘It was like he was in the room with us’: patients’ and carers’ perspectives of telemedicine in acute stroke. Health Expectations. 19(1), pp. 98–111.

French, B; Day, E; Watkins, C; McLoughlin, A; Fitzgerald, J; Leathley, M; Davies, P; Emsley, H; Ford, G; Jenkinson, D; May, C; O’Donnell, M; Price, C; Sutton, C; & Lightbody, C. (2013) The challenges of implementing a telestroke network: a systematic review and case study. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 13(1), p.125.

More publications


Alison is currently undertaking her own full-time PhD Fellowship, but she maintains involvement in other projects within the Stroke Research Team such as End of Life Care and the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Improving Stroke Care in India.


  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • National Stroke Nurses Forum (NSNF)
  • Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) Alumni
  • NETSMART Faculty


  • Standardised Neurological OBservation Schedule for Stroke (SNOBSS)
Research Groups

Teaching activities and responsibilities

  • Principles of Stroke Practice NU3135 and NU4135
  • Essentials of Stroke Practice Online Course

External Activities

Alison is an invited editorial board member of the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing (BJNN). She has reviewed for both the BJNN and the British Journal of Nursing. She has also participated as an evidence table reviewer for the National Clinical Guidelines for Stroke. 


McLoughlin A & Hurt E Overcoming barriers to beginning research: a practical workshop. Health Libraries Group Conference, 15 June 2018, Keele University [Workshop].

McLoughlin ASR NHS R&D North West Let’s Talk Research Conference 3: Edgewalking Programme 16 September 2016, Manchester [Presentation].

McLoughlin ASR Implementing telemedicine in acute stroke: staff perspective. 7th UK Stroke Forum Conference, 6 December 2012, Harrogate [Presentation].