Ms Emma McCall
NICORE focuses on the care and support of infants requiring specialist neonatal services and their families throughout their neonatal journey. As an integral part of the Neonatal Network Northern Ireland (NNNI), the primary research goal is to inform the provision of high quality, evidence-based neonatal care and to optimise short and long-term infant outcomes. NNNI’s core values include the promotion of a family centred approach, co-production and standardisation of practices.
The primary role of NICORE is to provide neonatal data which are accurate, timely, comprehensive, accessible and relevant in order to support service provision, research, clinical governance, quality improvement, surveillance and to facilitate local, national and international benchmarking. The NICORE research/quality agenda is driven by parental engagement, neonatal data analyses, key clinical questions and local, national and international priorities.
Details of any grant/funding connected with the research
NICORE is an ongoing joint initiative between the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and is funded by the Department of Health, Social Service and Public Safety (DHSSPS).
What is your ideal Research outcome?
Publication of relevant, robust research, systematic reviews and quality improvement studies which have a positive impact on short and longer-term outcomes for newborn infants, enhance parental experiences of neonatal care in Northern Ireland and contribute to the wider evidence-base pertaining to the care of these vulnerable infants and their families.
Principal Investigator: Dr Jenny McNeill
Why did you choose your current post and why at Queen’s?
Prior to joining QUB, I worked within the health care environment both in the UK and abroad, managing service quality improvement within primary and secondary care settings and at the interfaces of care. During this time I became a Certified Professional in Health Care Quality (CPHQ), the industry standard certification for the healthcare quality profession. My educational qualifications also include an MSc in Technology (Information Technology) and a primary degree in Biochemistry which have provided me with a firm quantitative foundation throughout my career. Moving laterally into research was therefore a natural progression for me and allowed me to work to my strengths, cultivate new skills and to work within a team of innovative professionals with the common goal of improving care for neonatal infants.
How have you been supported at Queen’s?
I am currently undertaking a part-time PhD as part of my professional development as a member of staff in the SN&M. In 2003, with the support of QUB, I was awarded a Cochrane Fellowship funded by HSC R&D Division to undertake a systematic review entitled ‘Interventions to prevent hypothermia at birth in preterm and/or low birthweight infants’, which has been regularly updated  and has had a significant impact on clinical care, with the review recommendations included in clinical practice guidelines world-wide. I have continued support to attend conferences and training events such as Annual the Vermont Oxford Network Quality Forum which facilitate networking and shared learning. I am also a member of the Health Foundation Q Community which provides connectivity to a network of quality improvement professionals from different disciplines in UK and Ireland.
In what ways have you developed at Queen’s?
Throughout my career, I have availed of a diversity of internal and external courses hosted by staff learning and development, the postgraduate researcher development programme and organisations such as The Cochrane Collaboration and Evidence Synthesis Ireland. All of these opportunities, coupled with practical experience and learning from peers have enhanced the quality of my work and contributed to my own personal development.
Can you describe the postdoctoral community in the School and at Queen’s?
The postdoctoral community in the SN&M are a cohesive, diverse group of researchers and although most posts are transitory in nature, there are always opportunities to share experiences, learn from each other and to establish lasting friendships.
Where do you hope your current post will lead?
Undertaking a PhD in the SN&M has enabled me to move forward with confidence in my ability as an independent researcher and to contribute to the evidence-base to inform policy, practice and to improve care. Ultimately, I would like to be in a role where I can inspire and guide others to do the same.
Anything else you would like to add or advice to new Postdocs?
Find your niche!