Category Archives: NIHR

Qualitative research – where to start?! – Here’s some help

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“The idea of the qualitative support group was initiated by Dr Kinda Ibrahim who felt that establishing a peer support network for members within CLAHRC Wessex and the wider University could be helpful to facilitate the use and development of qualitative research in health, illness and care.

This group has been massively supported by CLAHRC central team and Professors Cathy Pope and prof Anne Rogers.

The goal of this group is to encourage an intellectually dynamic yet supportive atmosphere for debate and discussion that examines the place of qualitative research in health research, its core concepts and methods.

The group meets every 2-3 months to share experience and research and are looking to possibly organise training workshops to staff, postgraduate and undergraduate candidates who are conducting or interested in conducting qualitative research. The agenda of this group is driven by its members and their interests and needs.

Dr Teresa Corbett suggested starting a “Qualitative journal club” to form the basis of the discussion in our group and has recently put a call out for recommendations for a “MUST READ LIST” for qualitative researchers on Twitter. The response was fantastic with over 50 replies. Many of those who replied on Twitter asked us to share the list with them once it was compiled.

So we have decided to build this dedicated resource to help and advise people”.

We have also started building up a resource that to be shared so that we can look up the best person(s) within our group that could help, advise, and support. If you would like to add your details, please click here

Continue reading Qualitative research – where to start?! – Here’s some help

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Part One: From Trainee to PhD – Top tips for success

Here at NIHR CLAHRC Wessex we have had the privilege to work with some very talented and determined people who have signed up to become an NIHR Trainee. It’s a demanding process where you are supported to carry out research, normally for a PhD, while continuing often in your day job, be that in the NHS or University. The NIHR has now set up an Academy to support trainees.

More than twenty have made it through the process and we wanted to capture their experience to help others who may be considering the idea. We asked them four questions:

  1. What have I got from being a trainee?
  2. What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying?
  3. How did you manage juggling PhD and work?
  4. What is your best single piece of advice

Here is what they had to say..

Continue reading Part One: From Trainee to PhD – Top tips for success

Learning from failure: lessons from the Checklist project in Wessex – by Dr Kate Lyle and Professor Catherine Pope

Dr Kate Lyle is a Research Fellow in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton and Professor Catherine Pope (right) is Deputy Director of NIHR CLAHRC Wessex

As academics, practitioners, and users of healthcare services we are all used to hearing about examples of successful interventions that have improved health services and care.  Indeed one of the core aims of the NIHR CLARHC programme is to improve patient outcomes locally and across the wider NHS. Here in Wessex we have been working hard over the past 5 years to do just that, spreading best practice and evidence based research throughout the NHS.

But what about the things that don’t work? Attempts at service improvement or innovation that went nowhere? Often these are the things we don’t hear about.  Yet, arguably there is as much to learn from our failures, as there is from successful innovations.

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Right idea? Wrong time

Continue reading Learning from failure: lessons from the Checklist project in Wessex – by Dr Kate Lyle and Professor Catherine Pope

The rights of people with dementia -Jackie Bridges – Professor of Older People’s Care, University of Southampton

Not so long ago CLAHRC East of England Research Capacity in Dementia Care Programme (RCDCP) joined forces with the University of Southampton Alzheimer’s Society Doctoral Training Centre to provide a European Summer School for 17 dementia care doctoral students. Hosted by the University of Linköping in Sweden, the programme enabled participants to share ideas, build international partnerships, and learn from leaders in dementia care research.

Professor Jackie Bridges explains some of the lessons we can learn about caring for people with dementia.

She was particularly struck by the approach of a day centre she visited whilst on the trip.

Continue reading The rights of people with dementia -Jackie Bridges – Professor of Older People’s Care, University of Southampton

AKI – seeing the bigger picture through sharing data – By Dr Simon Fraser

One of the great things about being involved with CLAHRC Wessex has been the opportunity to engage with other research teams around the country doing similar work. A group of us have been part of a network of people across England, Scotland and Wales who are interested in acute kidney injury (AKI). A challenge with AKI research is that it can be misleading if you don’t use the same methods and definitions to define the condition.

Continue reading AKI – seeing the bigger picture through sharing data – By Dr Simon Fraser

Frailty – a team approach to learning. Dr Melinda Taylor and Dr Alex Recio-Saucedo

Dr Melinda Taylor, Senior Research Fellow in Organisational Behaviour, NIHR CLAHRC Wessex Data Science Hub


images-6The first blog in this series described how health professionals in our study found it difficult to define ‘frailty’ but agreed that it was an extremely broad concept with no defined boundaries. This has an impact on training in frailty care. This second blog outlines our participants’ views on frailty care training.

Our study evaluated particular aspects of four initiatives intended to enhance the care provided to people regarded as frail. The diverse nature of the initiatives further demonstrates the complex nature of frailty.

Continue reading Frailty – a team approach to learning. Dr Melinda Taylor and Dr Alex Recio-Saucedo

Overloaded A&Es – Have we got this all wrong? Dr Brad Keogh

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Dr Brad Keogh

Accident and Emergency wait times seem to be constantly in the news. Less commonly but equally importantly are headlines that waiting lists for elective operations and procedures are on the rise. Although these topics hit our headlines regularly there is actually very little evidence and understanding behind the reasons for these changes in NHS services, and how the NHS can take positive action to cope with these issues.

From what we understand a lot of the currently held beliefs around the causes for pressure on NHS services come from very basic, non peer-reviewed, and potentially flawed analyses. It does not need too much explaining that making decisions based on these might be a bad idea.

Continue reading Overloaded A&Es – Have we got this all wrong? Dr Brad Keogh

Let’s learn about Frailty: a blog series on training for healthcare staff in this complex field. By Alex Recio-Saucedo and Melinda Taylor

This is the first of a series of blogs drawing on a study of training for those working in frailty care, with additional reflections from other work.

What is frailty?

Before looking at training in frailty care, it would be helpful to understand something about what frailty is. Descriptions of frailty will almost always refer to the complexity of the condition. But what makes frailty different to other conditions that could be described as complex? We might think perhaps of multiple sclerosis, in which the patient may experience a range of clinical conditions and in which physical, psychological and social factors need to be taken into account. The same can be said for patients diagnosed as frail. Well, in a recent study, our participants considered that the complexity of frailty; how two patients could have such a wide disparity of signs, symptoms and needs; its evolving nature; its acute susceptibility to interventions or to the lack of them, and the high number of professions, sectors and organisations necessary to carrying out effective frailty care, were sufficient reasons for it to stand apart.

Continue reading Let’s learn about Frailty: a blog series on training for healthcare staff in this complex field. By Alex Recio-Saucedo and Melinda Taylor

What does it mean to be a nurse? International Nurses Day

To mark International Nurses Day we asked the many researchers who are qualified nurses to answer these three questions:

  1. What nursing means to you? And is there a different view of it if you’re originally from another country?
  2. How you would encourage other nurses to progress and conduct research?
  3. What are the challenges facing the future of nursing that you can see?

Here’s what they said.

Professor Peter Griffiths
Professor of Health Services Research and the lead for CLAHRC research into Fundamental Care in Hospital

Professor Peter Griffiths

I remember being asked in my interview for nursing why I wasn’t applying to be a doctor. There’s no simple answer to ‘what nursing is’ or ‘what it means to me’ but the answer I gave then is probably as close as I’ll ever get.

I’m not that interested in disease but I am interested in people. Nursing is about supporting and helping people, often through their most difficult times. While it’s hard to distinguish this from many other caring professions the key (to me) is that the focus is on the person comes first and the rest follows.

Continue reading What does it mean to be a nurse? International Nurses Day

Why might nurses miss people’s ‘danger signs’ at night? – Dr Jo Hope

We know that nurses miss or delay taking patients’ vital signs (such as pulse, temperature and blood pressure) at night. Until now, no one knew why.

The NHS expects hospitals to use ‘Early Warning Scores’ to measure how ill someone is. These are based on the observation of ‘vital signs’ – measurements of things like pulse, temperature, blood pressure and breathing speed. The higher the score, the more often someone’s vital signs should be checked. This is so staff can spot the early danger signs of someone becoming very unwell, in time to help them.

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Your local hospital will probably have an ‘early warning protocol’ that says how often people should be checked according to their early warning score. At higher levels observations will need to be done in the middle of the night. Despite this, we know that nurses are much less likely to do the observations that are expected to be done at night.

Continue reading Why might nurses miss people’s ‘danger signs’ at night? – Dr Jo Hope