On 9 May at the 14th EAPC World Congress in Copenhagen, Dr Julie Kinley, Nurse Consultant for Care Homes, St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK, received second prize in the 2015 European Association for Palliative Care Early Researcher Award. Here, she talks about the research that led to her prizewinning entry.
I worked as a community Macmillan nurse (clinical nurse specialist) for more than 20 years. It took me most of these years before I noticed the small sentence in my job description that said ‘undertake research’. Paying attention to these two words changed the direction of my career. I completed an MSc and then joined the Care Home Project Team at St Christopher’s Hospice in southeast London in 2008 as the ‘research nurse’. My remit was to ‘look at sustainability of the Gold Standards Framework in Care Homes (GSFCH) programme’ and so my research journey continued. On reflection it was perhaps no surprise to find myself undertaking a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. St Christopher’s was the first Regional Training Centre for the GSFCH Programme and so a trial represented the research design of choice to investigate how best to facilitate the programme. The nurse in me believed it was crucial to understand how change occurred in practice as well as measuring outcomes. Facilitation was the core role of the Care Home Project Team so knowing how best to undertake this role was important.
My first few years of employment at St Christopher’s passed by in a data collection blur. Working with 38 nursing care homes across southeast England was only possible with help from St Christopher’s army of volunteers. I started a PhD which ran in parallel to the Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial. This was a mixed methods study across the same study sites examining how and why cultural change occurred. I realised that both studies told the whole story – that it was important to pay equal attention to process as well as outcome; to hear the entire story not just the ending. I completed my PhD oral examination in October 2014 and applied for the EAPC Early Researcher Award. The Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial examined the concept of high facilitation when implementing the GSFCH programme. Whilst the Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial did not show a statistically significant difference in the proportion of residents dying in the nursing home it demonstrated improved outcomes in those homes where the home manager had been supported by action learning. There was a significant association between the level of facilitation and the nursing home completing the GSFCH programme through to accreditation. The PhD explained why this occurred. Action learning was, in fact, only one element of the multi-layered approach to learning that was required.
The findings of both studies support the Care Home Project Teams current model of practice. It has shown me that bridging clinical practice with research identifies where knowledge in practice is needed and enables knowledge gained from research to be translated into practice.
It was huge honour to win the second prize EAPC Early Researcher Award as recognition for the research I have been part of. I recall the words Jo Hockley first said when I met her: “Undertaking a PhD is in fact the start of a research journey.”
The EAPC award has provided a great platform to continue this journey.
- St Christopher’s Care Home Project
- Click here to see more pictures from the 14th EAPC World Congress and a special message from the organising committees.
More about the EAPC Early Researcher Award
The Early Researcher Award is presented annually by the EAPC and is designed to recognise the work of young (novice) scientists and clinicians in the field of palliative care who have recently made, or are currently making, an outstanding contribution to research. It aims to highlight their personal career development and their potential for the future.
Click here to read the post from this year’s prizewinner, Dr Kathy McLoughlin. Contributions from two more of this year’s prizewinners, Dr Tora Skeidsvoll Solheim and Dr Amara Nwosu, will be published soon.
Look out for announcements about the 2016 Early Researcher Award in the autumn, and save the date for the 9th EAPC World Research Congress, 9-11 June 2016.