Research Studentship Scheme
We are excited to announce the launch of the 2023/24 Research Studentship Scheme, which is open to final year undergraduate and postgraduate taught (MSc) students to undertake research activities in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. There are five studentship awards available, each providing a stipend of £200 per week for a six-week full time appointment, or pro-rata for a part-time appointment.Research Studentship Scheme
A key area of the School’s SWAN Action plan is the promotion of an academic career to students. To address this, we are pleased to announce the launch of the 2023/24 Research Studentship Scheme open to final year undergraduate and postgraduate taught (MSc) students to undertake research activities in the School of Nursing and Midwifery. There are five studentship awards available for £1,200 each, providing a stipend of £200 per week for six weeks working on a full-time basis or £100 per week for 12 weeks working on a part-time basis.
An outline of the projects aligned to each of the five studentships, including the title and description of the activity, as well as contact details of the lead academic supervisors are listed below.
Student Application Process
Interested students are asked to complete the student application form and submit alongside a short one-page CV and a copy of their current unofficial academic transcript for their degree programme.
The deadline for applications is Friday 30 June 2023 at 5pm
Applications must be submitted via email to Dr Fiona Lynn (email@example.com)
Students will be notified of the outcome by 10 July 2023
If you have any queries about the application process or the studentships on offer, please contact Dr Fiona Lynn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
List of Studentships
TITLE: Self-Compassion Interventions for Perinatal Loss: A systematic review
LEAD SUPERVISOR: Dr Áine Aventin
SECOND SUPERVISOR: Ms Martina Galeotti
DESCRIPTION: Self-compassion interventions have shown positive impacts on mental health outcomes for people experiencing perinatal loss. However, there are currently no published systematic reviews synthesising evidence on self-compassion interventions for parents experiencing perinatal loss. Such a review would be beneficial for informing the development, evaluation, and implementation of interventions for perinatal bereavement care.
The aim of the project is to synthesise the research evidence on self-compassion interventions for parents experiencing perinatal loss. A protocol for the review is currently in development and the student will assist with the following activities (depending on start date):
- Conducting literature searches in electronic databases
- Screening title and abstracts
- Full-text screening of included articles
- Data extraction
- Data analysis (narrative and/or meta-analysis if appropriate)
- Publication write-up
The project is not funded and will be conducted by Dr Áine Aventin and Ms Martina Galeotti with support from Dr Suzie Heaney. The student will be given full on-the-job training and support from the supervisors, who are experienced in conducting systematic reviews. They would be invited to be co-author of project outputs.
TITLE: Collaborative expansion of a resilience resource with different Schools across Queen’s University Belfast
LEAD SUPERVISOR: Deirdre O’Neill
SECOND SUPERVISOR: Clare Hughes
DESCRIPTION: In 2022, a resilience resource called the Wellbeing Shelf was developed within the School which was primarily piloted with first year nursing and midwifery students. The resource can be viewed at Wellbeing Shelf. A mixed methods study has identified that students found the resource helpful and utilised it in different ways to help support their wellbeing. We now aim to rollout the Wellbeing Shelf to different Schools within the University which will involve adapting the resource to be generically suitable to their needs. We are currently seeking funding to adapt the resource which will be in co-production with identified Schools. The resource will be adapted and presented to students in the incoming academic year.
The plan for the research studentship would be to carry out focus groups with the selected schools and carry out a thematic analysis of their experiences utilising the resource. The research student will plan a qualitative paper with the Wellbeing Shelf research team and organise the team’s contributions for a peer reviewed journal suitable for the various student disciplines utilising the resource. The student will also produce a significant component of the paper within the 6-week timeframe [findings and discussion]. This overall experience will provide the student with insight to organising and working across different Schools within the University, the development of skills of thematic analysis and the experience of co-production and development of an academic paper with guidance. The student will also have the experience of working with an experienced research team.
TITLE: Retrospective longitudinal analysis of outcomes following selective dorsal rhizotomy in children with cerebral palsy
LEAD SUPERVISOR: Dr Claire Kerr
SECOND SUPERVISOR: Dr Karen McConnell (QUB), external supervisor Dr Brona McDowell (BHSCT)
DESCRIPTION: Background: Spasticity is the most common abnormality of tone observed in children with cerebral palsy. Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure that aims to reduce spasticity in the lower limbs by cutting the nerve rootlets in the spinal canal that send abnormal signals to the muscles. Potential benefits of SDR to children with cerebral palsy are reduced spasticity, reduced painful spasms, improved ease of caregiving, improved function and endurance, improved self-care ability and improved sleep. There is no SDR service in Northern Ireland (NI), instead, children travel to Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, for careful work-up (in partnership with the local NI neurodisability team) prior to decision-making about the appropriateness of the procedure.
Aim: To evaluate (1) outcomes of SDR undertaken in Alder Hey in children from Northern Ireland and (2) satisfaction with the service. To determine if outcomes vary with respect to age at time of surgery and functional ability.
Methods: Preliminary descriptive analysis of retrospective longitudinal data.
Outcomes: Standardised assessments of functional ability, caregiving, pain, activity and participation have been collected. Family satisfaction survey data has also been collected.
Proposed analysis: Participant characteristics will be summarised using descriptive statistics. Outcomes data will initially be reviewed descriptively, graphed and subjected to visual analysis. Depending on the number of available assessment points, paired t-tests or ANOVA will be used to evaluate change over time. Regression analysis may be undertaken if time and training permit.
Research theme: Maternal and Child Health
TITLE: Improving patient education in living kidney donation: a review of qualitative studies
LEAD SUPERVISOR: Dr Clare McKeaveney
SECOND SUPERVISOR: Prof Helen Noble
DESCRIPTION: Kidney transplantation is a complex medical procedure that necessitates thorough patient education. Insufficient understanding of the procedure and post-operative care can contribute to complications, heightened morbidity and mortality rates, and diminished quality of life. The most common form of patient education in kidney transplantation is usually a combination of one-to-one consultations with healthcare professionals, group education sessions, and written educational materials such as leaflets or booklets. However, with technological advances in healthcare, video educational resources are becoming more widely used providing an effective and accessible way to educate patients about kidney transplantation and improving patient understanding and adherence to post-operative care plans. The inclusion of video content can act as a bridge to support patient health literacy while also supporting different learning styles. Video content designed by Mansell and colleagues in Canada demonstrated medical animations, patient testimonials, and healthcare professional interviews improved patient knowledge and understanding, as well as medication adherence and was regarded as an effective and practical approach to improving clinical outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. However, living kidney donation information was not included due to the lower number of living kidney transplantations carried out in the province. Northern Ireland is one of the leading countries in living kidney transplantation and therefore an essential component of patient education. The aim of this project is to conduct a review of the holistic needs of patients wait-listed for a living kidney transplant, to inform content (in collaboration with Mansell and colleagues) for a new video series funded by the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund.
TITLE: Women’s experiences of post-dates induction of labour – A Systematic Review
LEAD SUPERVISOR: Dr Maria Healy
DESCRIPTION: More women in the United Kingdom (UK), including N. Ireland are now being offered and experience induction of labour for post-dates (from 41 weeks gestation), following the publication of new guidelines by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2021. This guidance is based on evidence that suggests an increase incidence of the need for caesarean birth, NICU admission and perinatal mortality with pregnancy gestation over 41 weeks. NICE (2021) has indicated that the evidence underpinning this guideline cannot be taken as definitive due to the limitations of the included studies and thereby absolute risk of these incidences remains low. Furthermore, Rydahl et al. (2019) found no difference in neonatal outcomes, including stillbirth from their research involving a large cohort study in Denmark from induction of labour because of post-dates at 41+3 weeks compared with 42+0 weeks gestation. Many women’s post-dates induction of labour are therefore performed with no other maternal or neonatal indication, than the pregnancy gestation being past the estimated date of delivery (EDD). Induction of labour can lead to additional interventions including
epidural analgesia, continuous fetal monitoring, not being able to mobilise in labour to facilitate birth, instrumental birth and emergency caesarean section (Poignant 2012), especially in primigravidae women (Vrouenraets et al, 2005). The introduction of these guidelines has received a negative reception in clinical practice due to an increased risk of intervention, workload and perceived negative birth experience. It is therefore important to undertake (initially) a systematic review of the evidence relating to women’s experience of post-dates induction of labour to identify the experiences of, and impact on, women.