School of Nursing and Midwifery

Helen Kerr

PhD student Helen Kerr

Research Theme: Supportive and Palliative Care

Research Title: Transition to adult services by young adults with life-limiting conditions in Ireland: a realist evaluation using mixed methods (TASYL study)

Research Interests: Oncology and Palliative care, Transition from children’s to adult services, Psychological aspects of care

Supervisors: Dr Peter O’Halloran, Dr Honor Nicholl, Dr Jayne Price

Email: h.kerr@qub.ac.uk

Personal Bio

I became a registered nurse in 1993 and mostly worked in oncology and palliative care settings.  In 2002 I became a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB).  In 2001 I completed the BSc(Hons) Specialist Practice in Oncology Nursing and in 2006 completed a Masters in Nursing.  In 2013 I took a career break from my role as lecturer to undertake a three year full time Doctoral Fellowship funded by the All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and HSC R&D Public Health Agency in 2013 and I am due to complete the PhD in 2016.

Project Summary

The aim of the study was to identify the organisational factors, and interactions between factors, involved in promoting or hindering a successful transition for young adults with life-limiting conditions.   A realist evaluation approach using a mixed methods design was adopted with four phases of data collection.  The first phase involved the distribution of a questionnaire survey to health, social, education and voluntary organisations known to be providing services to young adults making the transition to adult services in Northern Ireland and one Health Services Executive area in the Republic of Ireland.  The second phase involved interviews with young adults and the third phase involved focus groups with parents/carers.  The final phase of data collection involved interviews with service providers from statutory and non-statutory organisations.  Data were thematically analysed seeking to explain the impact of services and interventions, and to identify organisational factors influencing the quality, safety and continuity of care.  The study has completed and results are available.

My Perfect PhD Day

My perfect PhD day involved meeting with young adults, families and services providers as part of my research study.

Teaching

I have been a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery from 2002 so have experience in teaching in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study.

Other Activities

Awarded Researcher Plus award at the PhD graduation ceremony at Queen's University Belfast in December 2016.

Awarded competitive national Florence Nightingale Foundation Travel Scholarship in October 2016.

'Runner up in Royal College of Nursing, Northern Ireland Nurse Researcher of the Year awards in May 2016

Student representative in 2014.

Member of the Supportive and Palliative Care Research Theme, School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUB.

Secured funding from the Graduate School, QUB to host an inaugural student led conference in 2014.

Secured the Marcia Mackie award in 2014 from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUB to develop international research collaborations.

Secretary for the AIIHPC Early Career Researcher Forum.

Member of the AIIHPC Palliative Care Research Forum.

When I’m not PhDing…

Non PhD time is usually spent globetrotting and spending time with family and friends!

Conferences & Publications

Publication list

(previous surname of Sinclair)

  • Kerr, H., Nicholl, H., Price, J. and O’Halloran, P. (2016) Abstract: Organisational factors affecting transition from children’s to adult services by young adults with life-limiting conditions in Ireland. Palliative Medicine, 30(6), pp. 122-3.
  • Mitchell, G. and Kerr, H. (2016) ‘Palliative Care, Dementia and Doll Therapy’ in Mitchell, G. (ed.) Doll Therapy in Dementia Care: Evidence and Practice.  London: Jessica Kingsely Publishers.
  • Kerr, H., Nicholl, H., Price, J. and O’Halloran, P. (2016) Organisational factors affecting transition from children’s to adult services by young adults with life-limiting conditions in Ireland.  Palliative Medicine, 30(6), pp. 122-3. 
  • Kerr, H., O’Halloran, P., Nicholl, H. and Price, J. (2014) A realist Literature review of transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Ireland.  BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care. 4(Supplement 1), pp. A85.
  • Kerr, H., O’Halloran, P., Nicholl, H. and Price, J. (2014) Transition from children’s to adult services for young people with life-limiting conditions: Findings from a questionnaire survey in Northern Ireland.  Palliative Medicine, 28(6), pp. 783.
  • Kerr, H. (2014)  Review: The Struggle for safe staffing levels in the USA: a political economy of evidence based practice. Journal of Research in Nursing, 19, pp. 604-5. 
  • Sinclair, H. A. H. and Price, J. (2013) Student’s journey through a Trauma Studies Educational Programme: A Northern Irish perspective, Journal of Loss and Trauma, 19(3), pp. 278-87. (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15325024.2013.768476)
  • Hamill, C. and Sinclair, H. A. H. (2010) Bracketing-practical considerations in Husserlian phenomenological research. Nurse Researcher, 17(2), pp. 16-24. http://journals.rcni.com/doi/abs/10.7748/nr2010.01.17.2.16.c7458?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed
  • Sinclair, H. A. H. and Hamill, C. (2007) Does vicarious traumatisation affect oncology nurses? A literature review. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 11(4), pp. 348-56.

Conferences-oral presentations

  • “Bridging the Gap: Developing a Palliative Approach to Care for Young Adults” at the International Congress on Palliative Care conference in Montreal, Canada in 2016.
  • "Identifying interventions related to an effective transition from children’s to adult care for young adults with life-limiting conditions: finding from mixed methods research in Ireland’ at the International Children’s Palliative Care Network conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2016.
  • ‘Transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Belfast and Dublin: preliminary findings from interviews with young adults with neuromuscular conditions.’ Invited speaker at the Muscular Dystrophy Ireland Annual General Information Day in Belfast in May 2015.
  • ‘Transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Belfast and Dublin: preliminary findings from interviews with young adults with neuromuscular conditions.’ Invited key note speaker at the All Ireland Neuromuscular Research and Information Day in Dublin in May 2015.
  • ‘Transition from children’s to adult services for young people with life-limiting conditions: preliminary findings from a questionnaire survey to service providers in Belfast and Dublin (TASYL study).’  Invited speaker at The University of Toronto in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada in April 2015.
  •  ‘Is realistic evaluation a workable research approach?’  Seminar presentation at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, QUB in June 2014.
  • ‘Transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Belfast and Dublin: a realist evaluation using mixed methods (TASYL study).’ European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) at Cellars, Spain in June 2014.
  • ‘Transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Belfast and Dublin: a realist evaluation using mixed methods.’  Invited speaker at the Royal College of Nursing Community Children’s Nursing Conference in Northern Ireland in May 2014.
  • ‘A realist review of the literature on transition to adult services for young people with life-limiting conditions.’  Postgraduate Research conference at QUB, Belfast in January 2014.
  • ‘An organisational case study of transition to adult services by young people with life-limiting conditions in Belfast and Dublin.’  Presentation to the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care Steering Group in June 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.