The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute


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Helen McArdle at the opening of the new Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute

The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute

The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute sits within the University of Sunderland’s prestigious School of Nursing and Health Sciences which was launched in 2016.

The University recently benefited from a generous, multi-million pound donation from philanthropist and entrepreneur Helen McArdle, which was instrumental in the creation of the innovative new Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute. The University’s Shackleton House building has been re-named Helen McArdle House in recognition of this extraordinary gift. 

The opening of Helen McArdle house at the University of Sunderland

Helen McArdle and University of Sunderland staff and students at the opening of the new Helen McArdle House, home to the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute

The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute will focus on applied clinical research across nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals (NMAHP). The five key research themes are:

1) Health Services Research

2) Nursing

3) Out of Hospital Care

4) Bariatric Surgical Care

5) Military and Veteran Health and Wellbeing

These themes are underpinned by the ethos of improving care through ensuring avoidance of unintended or unexpected harm to patients or people during the provision of health care, by promoting the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions and policies into routine health care. 

The Helen McArdle programme of research activities, which will include conferences, lectures and workshops designed to build research capacity and capability for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, will support these strategic themes and raise the profile of the Helen McArdle Research Institute of Nursing and Care.

Helen McArdle House, University of Sunderland

As well as the five key research themes, research activity will be driven by current issues influencing health and provision of care across a variety of healthcare settings. The Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute will launch a series of lectures to raise the profile of the work of the Institute.

These lectures will be open to, and bring together, University staff and students, local and regional NHS and care workforces, including Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Trusts, health and social care organisations, and the public.

Other events such as workshops and lectures supporting the five key strategic themes and research skills development, e.g. experts on methodology, will be targeted at and delivered to a smaller, more focused audience, i.e. research-active clinicians and academics.

A student nurse

For almost 100 years, researchers at the University have been challenging themselves and their subject in order to improve society across all its facets – from the early days of pharmacy to the support for heavy industry at its height, through to today's new sciences and advanced technologies. The Institute’s vision is to provide a research-rich environment that allows the current cohort of research active staff to achieve their full potential, and to support all other staff who aspire to being research active in becoming so.

PhD Studentship opportunities 

Title of studentship: Exploring social isolation in the veteran population of Sunderland

Location: University of Sunderland, City Campus

Terms of PhD Studentship: 3 years, full-time, on-campus. A stipend will be paid in line with UKRI rates

Supervisors: Dr Yitka GrahamProfessor Catherine Hayes

Informal enquiries: Dr Yitka Graham, email: yitka.graham@sunderland.ac.uk

Application process: applicants should fill in an expression of interest form (.docx) and email it to Dr Yitka Graham, with a CV and covering letter by 28 February 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview to be held in Sunderland in March 2020, date to be confirmed.

We welcome applications from ex-service personnel with the relevant academic qualifications.

About the research:

Social isolation and loneliness has been identified as an increasing health concern within the ex-service personnel population in the UK. Social isolation is linked to poor health and well-being and increased risk of mortality. For many veterans, the transition to civilian life from a military environment is a significant life change, with a loss of identity, established social networks no longer accessible, which may impact on mental health and wellbeing. Research has identified gaps in provision of services and care to support veterans as they attempt to integrate into civilian life and longer term. Additionally, the stigma associated with mental health, which has specific military contexts, may be a barrier to ex-service personnel of all ages in seeking help.

This study will help to provide a better understanding of the impact of social isolation on veterans living in Sunderland.

The project will employ qualitative research methods to investigate:

  • The experiences of ex-service personnel as they transition to civilian life
  • The perspectives of family and friends of veterans, to be able to explore the issues of social isolation from those who live with and support veterans in a domestic environment
  • The role of organisations, formal and informal networks in the identification care and support of veterans in Sunderland

This project is in collaboration with Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and Veterans in Crisis Sunderland.

Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow

As our nursing, midwifery and allied health professions (NMAHP) research profile develops through our ambitious growth plans, we have an exciting opportunity for a Research Fellow to join the Institute. Learn more about the role and how to apply

Our School of Nursing and Health Sciences is the largest encompasses academic staff across undergraduate and postgraduate Nursing and Allied Health Professional programmes, including undergraduate and postgraduate Nursing, Paramedic Science, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

The new Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute is an integral part of the School, supporting the development of NMAHP applied research, aligned to the Institute's strategic themes of health services research, nursing, military and veteran health, out of hospital care and bariatric surgical care. As a School, we embrace innovation and are forward thinking in our approach and have strong working relationships with external partners.