Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in neonatal intensive care unit parents in Northern Ireland and the feasibility of using online Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy as a treatment
My project aims to determine the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents, of which is currently unknown in Northern Ireland. Participants chosen for this study will be a cross-section of parents whose infants(s) has been previously an inpatient in any one of the NICUs throughout the five health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland and are over the age of 18 years.
A purposive sample of participants who have symptoms associated with PTSD will be chosen to complete sessions of online EMDR Therapy delivered by an accredited practitioner. Furthermore, participant’s experiences of this online therapy will be explored by-way of semi-structured interviews.
My project is funded by DfE.
What is your ideal Research outcome?
I hope that this piece of research will convey to policy makers in neonatal care that recognition of PTSD and timely psychological input is imperative in helping these parents. Knowledge of PTSD will also enable health care workers to find meaning when faced with traumatic situations.
Dr Breidge Boyle, Dr Oliver Perra and Dr Derek McLaughlin.
Why did you choose this PhD and why at Queen’s?
I obtained a first class honours degree in children’s nursing in 2018 from the school of nursing and midwifery at QUB. Since then I have worked within children’s and neonatal nursing in the Western Health and Social Care Trust. I am passionate about perinatal mental health; helping parents = helping children in the long-term.
How have you been supported at Queen’s?
My supervisors are the most supportive and genuine team; I am truly blessed. They know my strengths and weaknesses and will encourage me in every way to build upon these. As such, I have had the opportunity in presenting posters at various conferences and this has instilled greater confidence in my self-belief and worth. Furthermore, I have embraced every opportunity in partaking in various courses delivered by expert consultants at the graduate school at Queen’s. The skills and knowledge that I have acquired have helped me on my PhD journey to date and I will take with me further and beyond.
In what ways have you developed at Queen’s?
Completing a PhD comes with its challenges and then during a pandemic becomes even more challenging. However, I have grown more resilient over the past year and this has been aided by completing a mindfulness course with Dr Helen Noble. Mindfulness, helps me focus and to take each day as it comes.
Can you describe the postgraduate community in the School and at Queen’s?
If ever I am having a difficult day, I can always reach out to one of my peers for advice and support. The postgraduate community in the school embodies the ethos of nursing; we all care for each other.
Where do you hope your PhD will lead?
I may go on to complete post-doctoral research alongside clinical practice.
Anything else you would like to add or advice to new PGR students?
The PhD journey is like a rollercoaster; there will be ups and downs. Always reach out and talk to someone on a difficult day, it helps make sense of everything. I am so pleased to have this opportunity and so will you.