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Improving health outcomes in acute coronary syndrome via mindfulness

School of Nursing and Midwifery | PHD
Reference Number
Application Deadline
None specified
Start Date
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Approximately 20% of patients hospitalised for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have major depression, and even more show subclinical depression. Depression is a risk factor for adverse medical outcomes in patients with ACS, including all-cause mortality, cardiac mortality, re-hospitalisation and medication non-adherence. Currently, pharmaceutical interventions are largely ineffective, with between 20-55% of treated individuals being treatment resistant. Many individuals refuse current pharmacological treatments because of associated deleterious side effects that reduce quality of life and reduce adherence to medications. Safer and more effective treatment methods are required. Mindfulness has repeatedly been demonstrated to effectively reduce depression and improve well-being in non ACS populations. We aim to assess if a mindfulness intervention can similarly decrease depression in patients with ACS. Improving the management of depression in ACS patients will potentially result in the reduced need for patient rehospitalisation and favourable improvements in patient morbidity and mortality.

Research Design This will be a two-arm randomised, study of mindfulness for depression (active vs TAU) evaluating the feasibility of a mindfulness intervention for depression symptoms in participants with ACS. Participants will undergo assessments at baseline, post intervention and 6 week follow up.
Participants Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of ACS and a Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21) score demonstrating mild or moderate depression (10-20).
Intervention The mindfulness-based stress management intervention has been based on a program originally developed for use as a brief intervention for stress reduction in general practice. It involves 6 group-based sessions run over 6 weeks for 1.5 hours on each occasion. The intervention includes learning mindfulness meditation, the informal practice of being mindful in daily life, and 4 cognitive practices aimed at reducing stress and reactivity.
Outcome measures A short battery of psychological tests will be applied pre and post-intervention with 3 month follow-up

Project Summary
Dr Chantal Ski
Mode of Study

Full-time: 3 years

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Nursing & Midwifery overview

From Maternal and Child Health, to Chronic Illness and Palliative Care, our research is changing and improving care for people at every stage of life – from their first breath to their last.

Your research will be hosted in our School and linked to the interdisciplinary and university wide Centre For Evidence and Social Innovation and the Graduate School, extending your potential in the UK and internationally.

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  • The School was ranked 7th in the UK for research intensity in 2014 UK REF Exercise.
  • Our research is funded by the NIHR, UKRI, the World Health Organisation, Horizon 2020 as well as leading international charities.
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Course content

Research Information

Research Themes
Nursing and Midwifery: Chronic Illness and Palliative Care (PhD/MPhil)

The aim of this research theme is to improve the health and wellbeing of those with chronic illness, especially in relation to chronic heart disease, and those requiring palliative care and their informal carers. Our team’s research fosters a sound evidence base in which multiple research approaches are promoted, using: epidemiology, ethics, health services research, behavioural sciences and randomized control trials. An innovative feature of the team is in pioneering the viability of the palliative care approach beyond the field of cancer care into areas such as dementia care and a range of chronic illnesses.
You’ll work with an internationally recognised and connected group of researchers conducting research with them to provide new solutions for supportive care in chronic illness and innovative palliative care.

Research Themes
Nursing and Midwifery: Maternal and Child Health (PhD/MPhil)

The aim of this research theme is to improve health and well-being in pregnancy, childbirth and early years care and amongst children with long term health conditions or disabilities, such as acquired brain injury and cerebral palsy. Our team’s research is renowned for developing and evaluating interventions, contributing to the evidence base worldwide in improving Maternal and Child Health outcomes, especially focussing where need is greatest. One of the many valuable innovations we make to the field of Maternal and Child Health is in relation to fathers and prospective fathers, unlocking men’s potential to improve health and social care outcomes for children, and in turn to men’s own health.

You’ll work with an outstanding group of researchers who are at the heart of improvements in parental and child health, recognising that improving health in pregnancy, infancy and childhood is important for adult health and wellbeing across generations.

Research Themes
Nursing and Midwifery: Education and Practice (PhD/MPhil)

The School is at the forefront of educational innovation and this theme showcases emergent research and scholarship in education and practice.
This programme promotes the integration of research in curriculum and practice development enabling us to develop the future leaders in nursing and midwifery.

Find a PhD Supervisor
Prospective PhD students should take a moment to look at our website to identify a researcher who could supervise and support them throughout the 3 years of the programme.

Applications must include a named supervisor.

Research Impact
The School's research is having a profound impact on the health of the population, from cradle to grave.

Career Prospects

Employment after the Course
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

People teaching you

Prof Joanne Reid
Director of Research
Nursing and Midwifery

Learning Outcomes

Course structure





Feedback can be written, verbal or online, and may come from your supervisor or mentor; the Postgraduate Tutor or indeed, on occasions, from other students.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's has one of the most advanced Clinical Education suites in Europe, and we are introducing a new state of the art Simulation Centre in Autumn 2020. This will prepare students for the increasingly challenging and complex realities of modern clinical practice.

Entrance requirements

The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. As part of the application process candidates will be required to submit a research proposal and undertake an interview.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last 2 years).

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407
Other (non-UK) EU £4,407
International £16,950

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Nursing & Midwifery costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

How do I fund my study?
1.PhD Opportunities

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2.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's

Queen's has eight outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and most importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.

3.PhD loans

The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students, £10,000 for students in Scotland and up to £5,500 for Northern Ireland students.

4.International Scholarships

Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.

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To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.

You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.