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Awards for Queen's collaboration to improve sexual health of male prisoners

26/10/2018

SE Trust Chairman's Recognition Awards 2018 CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards

A collaboration involving researchers in the School of Nursing and Midwifery to improve the sexual health of men in NI's prisons has been recognised at the South Eastern Trust Chairman Awards and 2018 CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards.

Scooping 1st prize in the 'Helping you to look after yourself' category at the South Eastern Trust Chairman Awards and two Silver Awards with Morrow Communications at the 2018 CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards, the project was commended for pioneering nurse-led prison sexual health services and health promotion among male prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Working alongside partners in the South Eastern Trust and communications consultancy Morrow Communications, the team at Queen's collaborated with a group of young men from Hydebank Wood College to develop a video animation promoting a positive attitude to sexual heath testing among men in Northern Ireland's prisons.

The project was funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing and developed in collaboration with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, who are responsible for providing healthcare in our prisons.

Dr Carmel Kelly, Consultant Nurse in Sexual Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University Belfast, who holds a joint appointment with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, explained that the project had two strands:

"Firstly, we introduced a nurse-led initiative to provide asymptomatic sexual health check-ups for patients. This is the first time nurses have provided comprehensive check-ups, as prior to this the medical consultants mostly saw patients who were showing symptoms. Nursing staff completed eLearning modules and attended training provided by the Trust's sexual health team before piloting the service. A failsafe process for the appropriate management of all positive results received by prison healthcare staff is coordinated by the Trust's Sexual Health Nurse Advisor.

"Secondly, we used a participatory action research model with a group of young men from Hydebank Wood College, which resulted in the development of a short animation video, encouraging a positive approach to looking after one's sexual health by attending check-ups."

The young men were involved as co-producers in developing the animation to ensure their voices were heard and that they could relate to the final version. This approach allowed the young men from the College to develop a video which was relevant and authentic to them.

Dr Michelle Templeton, a Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University Belfast who worked on the project, said:

"It is wonderful to see this project recognised as an excellent example of how key health messages can be meaningfully communicated to young men. Central to the development and effectiveness of the intervention was the inclusion of the voices and experiences of the young men themselves. This direct participation and authenticity means that young men are more likely to hear and act on key messages, resulting in benefits not only for the sexual health of male prisoners but also for that of their partners and future partners."

Professor Maria Lohan, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University Belfast, who was Co–Investigator in the project, added:

"This project very clearly demonstrates our commitment to translating ideas and research into action to positively impact individual lives and wider society and I am delighted that it has been recognised at the South Eastern Trust Chairman Awards and 2018 CIPR Northern Ireland PRide Awards. The success of this project has ultimately been down to the partnership approach it adopted and we worked closely with partners in the South Eastern Trust, Morrow Communications, Hydebank Wood College, and, crucially, with the young men themselves, to co-create an effective intervention which will improve the lives of young men and the communities to which they will return."

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