The School of Nursing and Midwifery produces internationally excellent research that informs healthcare policy, underpins nursing education and practice, and makes improvements for patients and their families. We have two core research themes; Chronic Illness and Palliative Care and Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, we have an emerging research theme, Education and Practice.
Support for our research comes from funders of international standing, including: Horizon 2020, the National Institute for Health Research, the Global Challenges Research Fund, Marie Curie, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and Cancer Research United Kingdom. We have an established and international reputation of both research excellence and impact.
They also have an initial reduced teaching load, and access to University training courses to help develop their research, leadership and teaching skills (e.g., Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Teaching and Supervising Research Students courses).
Early career researchers also enjoy priority access to ring-fenced PhD (DfE) studentships and an informal peer review system to support them in the preparation of grant applications. For further information: Athena SWAN | School of Nursing and Midwifery (qub.ac.uk). All incoming academic staff are supported through start-up packages for networking and research activities.
Skills development - seven principles of the Concordat to support the Career Development of Researchers, as evidenced by our recruitment strategies, staff retention, rewards and recognition procedures, training and commitment to ongoing staff development, reflective review of staff progress; and our Equality and Diversity strategy.
Early career researcher profile and photo – Dr Breidge Boyle
In relation to post-doctoral staff, we have a member of Lecturing staff who is the Post-Doctoral Representative and two current postdoctoral staff champions. Together they sit on the Postdoctoral Development Centre (PDC) committee and help to provide the School’s postdoctoral staff up-to-date information regarding career development opportunities, training courses, events and support resources. School level meetings happen on a monthly basis and outside of the School the PDC provides support to postdoctoral staff from across the Faculty of Medicine Health and Life Sciences. Their main goal is to help postdoctoral staff make the best out of their time at Queen's, supporting and empowering them with their career development, in and out of academia.
This includes providing guidance on ethics and governance, funding projects, working with partners, and commercial developments. Research is a key function of the University, so Queen’s provides a range of high quality learning and development opportunities to assist with your work and support your career development. New researchers will be invited to attend a central induction event, which is an opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the University.
It exploits the expert interdisciplinary profile of staff. It has an energetic PhD culture and is committed to making doctoral students part of the life of the School and the wider University. We have created bespoke student informed videos to assist with protocol development and run a responsive training programme for PhD students. Each new PhD student has an allocated ‘peer buddy’.
“I came to Queen’s for my PhD in Nursing after working in a clinical setting for ten years as a Nurse. The transition was made easy through the support of my supervisors, the Graduate School, my fellow PhD students and the School of Nursing. My study involves working with patients and staff to find a way to make Cardiac Rehabilitation more appealing and improve attendance. Every day is different and I’m enjoying the challenges of academic life and developing my research skills.”Gemma Caughers, PhD Nursing
Contributions to Society and the Economy
As part of our strategy to encourage the best nursing and midwifery undergraduate students to progress to a career in scientific research, we offer a Research Studentship Scheme which provides students with the opportunity to work on research projects.
In 2016 the Renal Arts Group (RAG) was established at Queen's University Belfast following a suggestion by members of the Northern Ireland Kidney Patient Association with an interest in arts-based activities. The group is co-chaired by Dr Helen Noble, a nephrology nurse and Reader at Queen’s University Belfast and William Johnston, the Northern Ireland Advocate for Kidney Care United Kingdom. It was formed to promote the benefits of the arts to patients living with kidney disease and the wider renal community. The group currently meet monthly and members include patients, carers, academics, researchers and artists.
In 2017, supported by the work of RAG, Dr Noble was successful at securing full time funding for Dr Claire Carswell, a mental health nurse with a psychology degree, to undertake a PhD studentship aimed at developing and implementing an arts-based intervention for patients during their haemodialysis treatment. The study demonstrated the intervention was highly acceptable to both patients and healthcare professionals, and that the benefits included improved self-esteem, motivation and an improved dialysis experience. Dr Carswell, Dr Noble and Anna Wilson (RAG Administrator) were awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council in 2019 to further develop this work with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust to draw up guidelines for sustained implementation of volunteer-led arts interventions in renal units. This work is informing an application to the National Institute for Health research (NIHR) to undertake a cluster randomised control trial across the United Kingdom.
Since inception RAG has taken part in events at The Black Box, Belfast City Hospital, The Brian Friel Theatre and a ‘Createathon’ at the Ulster Museum, Belfast in 2017 to raise public knowledge of kidney disease. In 2019 the group held a successful event at the Sunflower public house, ‘The Art of Health and Wellbeing’ as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, exploring the intersection of creativity, arts and health and showcasing performances from patients and healthcare professionals along with an exhibition of art created by patients during haemodialysis. In 2019 the group were awarded funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to develop the script for ‘The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards’ written by co-Chair William Johnston under the mentorship of award-winning playwright Shannon Yee. Dr Noble and Anna Wilson were awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in 2020 to develop a series of online arts activities for the renal community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The School currently holds a SWAN Silver Award, an accolade which they achieved in 2012 and have attained since in recognition of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science and higher education.
We invest millions in the development of our research facilities to ensure that our staff, students and collaborators have the very best equipment to help them in their work. All staff are housed in a recently refurbished wing of the Medical Biology Centre which as seminar rooms, IT facilities, and lecture theatres. All staff and PhD students have a dedicated office space with the latest computer equipment and designated social areas.