Seonaid C Mackay, winner of the 2012 Marjorie Simpson New Researcher Award, reports on the RCN Annual International Research Conference
I was delighted and honoured to be presented with the RCN Marjorie Simpson New Researcher Award by Dr Alison Twycross, the editor of Evidence Based Nursing, at the RCN Conference in London in April 2012. This award is a fitting tribute to the legacy of an inspirational woman, Marjorie Simpson, who was influential in advancing the science and art of nursing by virtue of her pioneering work in nursing research.
I am studying for a Masters (MRes) in Health Research at Stirling's Western Isles Campus in Stornoway. My proposed research, supervised by Professor Angus Watson, is focussed on assessing whether people with inflammatory bowel disease in a remote and rural population may benefit from telehealth in terms of improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. The intervention aims to help people overcome barriers such as isolation, travel time and lost work by providing earlier access to care.
The award covered the cost of the conference fees, accommodation and £100 towards travel expenses which was excellent!
The conference, in the majestic Grand Connaught Rooms, was well attended. I valued the opportunity to advance my knowledge through some of the very best of cutting edge research presented by nurses from across the world. It felt a truly international community. It was a pleasure to witness the vibrant, inspirational and high quality presentations, symposia and workshops and experience connecting with kindred spirits in open dialogue with a common interest in advancing research in nursing.
The keynote addresses from Professor Linda McGillis Hall from the University of Toronto, on the current challenges regarding nursing work environments and workforce issues, clarified that following research studies conducted over the last 20 years, the global issue of insufficient staffing levels, migration and mobility still continue to have a negative effect on nurse satisfaction and patient safety, and Professor Vivien Coates from the University of Ulster, whilst considering the critical steps of development, feasibility, evaluation and implementation for a successful randomised controlled trial (RCT), highlighted the paradox that there is nothing random about randomisation and although the use of RCT’s is controversial it is intrinsically good and still the gold standard for 2012. The addresses were inspirational and skilfully delivered and they both generated and stimulated rich discussion with the audience.
The choice of over 180 concurrent sessions at the conference offered the opportunity to experience a plethora of different types of papers being presented. It was a pleasure to witness how vibrant and active the art and science of nursing research is in practice. We clearly have something to celebrate! The professionalism and enthusiasm of the presenters was evident as they successfully managed to succinctly condense vast information, complex ideas and data from years of research into a 20 minute presentation, followed on by 10 minutes of lively discussion and interaction.
There was an impressive choice of presentations with a variety of themes. I particularly enjoyed attending the sessions on qualitative processes, NVivo, paradigms, planning a clinical trial, ethical approval, internal validity and systematic reviews, and valued these high quality learning opportunities as a means of enhancing and developing my understanding of the complexity of achieving change using health research. Within the confines of the MRes programme I am currently preparing an article for journal submission. The workshop on writing for publication served to compliment my understanding of standards, ethical issues and the importance of dissemination of findings and outcomes as a crucial step in the research process. As I presently work in operating theatre in the Western Isles Hospital, the presentations on post-anaesthetic scoring criteria and patient experiences of hip fractures were most enjoyable. It was very interesting to learn about the Singapore Myopia Research Study as I was recently employed as a research nurse with the Myopia Project in the Western Isles!
In addition to the academic programme there was time for some sightseeing as the student ambassadors guided the delegates to an evening drinks reception at the Florence Nightingale Museum.
My thanks are due to Professor Julie Taylor, Chair of the Marjorie Simpson New Researcher Award Panel and the RCN committees, conference sponsors and ambassadors for their warm welcome and expertise in ensuring the smooth running of the conference. It was a pleasure to witness the presentations of the latest developments in nursing research in a wonderful environment, and principal social arena, to learn from each other and further knowledge and understanding.