Blog posts

A Midwife in the Pandemic

This World Health Day, Alison Perry shares her experiences as a research midwife returning to the front line of clinical care during the COVID-19 outbreak. #SupportNursesAndMidwives

My name is Alison and I’m the Lead Research Midwife and manager of the Women’s Health Research Centre at Imperial College. My work is at the intersection of health and science and COVID-19 has hit this space like a bolt.

I lead a team of research clinicians (including many midwives) and support a portfolio of clinical research related to reproductive health and childbirth.  Since the outbreak, most of that research is on hold.

Nursing in an epidemic: reflections on HIV nursing in the 1980s and the relevance for COVID-19 today

This World Health Day, Jane Bruton reflects on her time as an HIV nurse during the early years of the HIV pandemic, and shares observations relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak today. #SupportNursesAndMidwives

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and this year’s World Health Day (7 April 2020) celebrates the role that these professions play in keeping the world healthy. Both nurses and midwives are at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. And every day, as I read the experiences of nurses on the front line, it takes me back to my time on the ward.

In 1981, thirty-nine years ago, I qualified as a registered nurse in the UK.

Pandemics, infodemics and the impact on people like you (and me)

By Professor Helen Ward, Patient Experience Research Centre, Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London.

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns … of all the one-horse towns … why did this virus have to come to mine?”

The words of my friend Paul who is living in an Italian town under lockdown because of the novel coronavirus epidemic. His frustration is palpable as his plans for travel, work and social life were put on hold for at least two weeks (and subsequently extended for another three). But he reasons, “despite the fact that it’s not a killer disease, we can’t all go around with pneumonia.

What’s New and Promising in Neuropathic Pain Research? Involving Patients in Research Co-Design

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series PPI Awards: Round 4 Reports

In conversation with: Donna Kennedy, Clinical Specialist Hand Therapy (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) and Postdoctoral Research Fellow (NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre). Working in collaboration with Prof. Andrew Rice, Dr Harriet Kemp and Dr Whitney Scott within the Pain Research Group led by Prof. Andrew Rice.

What did you do?

The Pain Research Group investigates neuropathic pain in the context of infectious diseases, diabetes and nerve trauma. We undertake patient profiling studies, which include cognitive, psychological and physical measures such as skin biopsies and quantitative sensory testing.

What we learnt developing MatImms – a maternal immunisation smartphone app

In conversation with: Dr. Beth Holder, Lecturer in Maternal and Fetal Health Working within the Institute of Reproductive Biology, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Imperial College London.

What is the MatImms app?

The MatImms app is a free educational smartphone app, which is aimed primarily at pregnant women. The objective of the app is to provide reliable information about vaccinations in pregnancy. This includes background on the immune system and how vaccines work, as well as what vaccines are available and how women can get them. We also included a calendar function, where women can put a vaccine reminder into their phone.

The Young People in Psych Research Group: helping scientists iMAGine better research for self-harm

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series PPI Awards: Round 4 Reports

In conversation with: Dr Martina Di Simplicio, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, and Rachel Rodrigues, PhD Student. Working within the Mood Instability Research Group, Centre for Psychiatry, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London.

What did you do?

Our research project called iMAGine looks at the psychological processes contributing to maintenance of self-harm behaviour in young people, including whether aspects of ‘reward’ or positive reinforcement underlie self-harm. From the very start of the study, we’ve been collaborating with a group of six young people (17 to 25-year-olds) with and without experience of self-harm.

‘Health Research Matters’: Co-production in young people’s health research

To kick off the Autumn series of our ‘Health Research Matters’ lunchtime seminar series, we brought together two speakers to share their experience of co-production with young people:

  • Dr Christina Atchison, talked about ‘Adolescents 360‘, a project that used human-centred design to co-produce context-specific reproductive health programming initiatives with adolescents in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania; and
  • Matt Walsham, from Partnership for Young London, who shared insight into working with young people on research across the voluntary sector

In case you weren’t able to attend, and as a reminder for those who did, here are some of the key take home messages from the two presentations, followed by the main discussion points and links to further reading.

Public involvement in prematurity research at Imperial Women’s Health Research Centre

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series PPI Awards: Round 4 Reports

In conversation with: Lynne Sykes, Clinical Lecturer; Rachel Akers, Senior Research Midwife; and Malko Adan, Senior Research Midwife

Working within: Prematurity Research, Women’s Health Research Centre at Imperial Institute of Reproductive & Developmental Biology

What did you do?

We held face-to-face meetings with patients who took part in our preterm research project meetings to garner acceptability and opinions for new research techniques. We chose this method because it allowed our patients to share their experiences with others and catch up with the research team, who they saw for a large amount of time during their pregnancy.

Involving women in the design of maternal cardiovascular research

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series PPI Awards: Round 4 Reports

In conversation with: Olive Adams, Research Midwife

Working within: Centre for Fetal Care (NIHR Imperial BRC Theme: Maternity Cardiovascular)

What did you do?

Our research department, the Centre for Fetal Care, undertakes studies on maternal cardiovascular health and other conditions in pregnancy at Imperial and with European collaborators.

We formed a group of women who were either affected by conditions addressed in our research or who were in the pre-conception period (the weeks or months when a woman or couple decides to have a child).

Achieving more through public involvement in antimicrobial stewardship

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series PPI Awards: Round 4 Reports

In conversation with: Dr Monsey McLeod, Lead Pharmacist Medication Safety and Anti-infectives Research and Dr Anne Campbell, Research Associate at National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance at Imperial College London.

What did you do?

Antimicrobial resistance is a key threat to patient safety and a major driver is antibiotic use. In the UK, general practitioners (GPs) prescribe approximately 75% of all antibiotics. Under 20% of these prescriptions will benefit patients, but they all increase the number of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics, and can cause side-effects.