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Student Research Opportunities

The School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin supervises research within a wide range of areas and welcomes applications from nursing, midwifery and other healthcare related students who wish to pursue research degrees.

Research Groups

These research groups not only encompass five nursing disciplines (children's nursing, general nursing, intellectual disability, mental health and midwifery) but also include research from other healthcare disciplines and the educational arena. Within these strengths several cross cutting themes are evident. These include service outcomes, care pathways, evaluation, intervention, prevention, evidence-based policy and practice, continuing professional development, education, leadership and management. The supervisory expertise in the School spans across many different methodologies. This includes qualitative methodologies (grounded theory, ethnography, narrative, feminist methodologies, phenomenology and hermeneutics), quantitative methodologies (longitudinal studies, randomised control trials, surveys), mathematical and statistical modelling, systematic reviews, action research and mixed methods designs.

Application Process and finding a supervisor

Potential applicants must firstly ensure that they are eligible to apply to do a research degree in Trinity College Dublin. The following web link relays general information regarding the application process to TCD. http://www.tcd.ie/courses/postgraduate/how-to-apply/

If you are eligible the next step before you begin completing any of the forms is to see if we have research expertise and topic areas that you would be interested in.

Explore our research groups listed above. On these pages you will find links to members of staff with their different research expertise within the School. If you want to know more about any member of staff, please click on their name to view their profile page. In this way you will become familiar with the staff of the research group you are interested in and may identify a member of staff that you would like to be a supervisor for you if suitable and available.

In addition to potential students coming with their own specific research questions we welcome applications to specific research topics. These will be available here early in the New Year. (link to document with 5 headings).

The application process for new students involves an online application form (see link above) and the attachment to this of a 3000 word research proposal and research CV.

Prospective students are advised that for both unfunded and funded research applications they need to contact and work with the member of staff who has posted the research topic or a member of staff whose research area their research is compatible with, so as to develop their proposal to a level suitable for application. It is usually advised that this process starts at least three months prior to registration.

For further information on the application process please contact the Director of Postgraduate Programmes, Dr Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy

Funding

Applicants wishing to pursue research degrees within the School are eligible to apply for funding using the following options:

1. Internal College and School Grants

Any student completing the online application form has the opportunity to tick the relevant box so that their application enters into competition for the available grants. These applications may be based on the prospective students' own research idea or from our topic list (see link to research topics above). Applications will be ranked based on their online application form and the submission/ attachment of a research proposal. The research proposal has to be less than 3000 words.

Applications will be ranked according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of Research Proposal
  • Relevance to School's Research Agenda and supervisory support for the applicant
  • Review of educational preparation, references and career development

Postgraduate Research Ussher Fellowships are available to new entrants to the full-time Ph.D. register for entry in September and/or the following March of the next academic year (e.g. September 2016 and/or March 2017). They are awarded competitively on academic merit. The Fellowship fully covers EU and non-EU fees and provides an annual maintenance of euro 13,000 for three years. The fellowship is unrelated to teaching. A maximum annual income level of euro 18,000 excluding fees but including the studentship maintenance is permitted. (none available at the moment).

A Postgraduate Research Studentship is available to new entrants as well as continuing students on the full-time Ph.D. register for entry in March 2017. Applicants must have received a 2.1 honours degree to be eligible.  The studentship is awarded competitively on academic merit. The postgraduate studentship fully covers EU or non-EU fee and an annual maintenance of euro 6,500 for three years. The holder of a postgraduate studentship is required to engage in teaching-related activities, as advised by the appropriate Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) or by his/her nominee, to a maximum of 6 hours per week in teaching term. A maximum annual income level of euro 18,000 excluding fees but including the studentship maintenance is permitted. The receipt of any additional funding must be notified immediately to the Graduate Studies Office and the Staff Office payroll. Postgraduate studentships cannot continue beyond the fourth year on the Ph.D. register. (Applications due 13th January 2017) 

For all funding application details please contact Caroline Rooney: caroline.rooney@tcd.ie 

2. External programme grants

Principal investigators of projects may advertise for potential PhD students on the college WebPages. Please check the college vacancies page (https://jobs.tcd.ie/) to see if there are any current PhD opportunities on funded projects for specific research topics.

For further information on funding opportunities in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, please contact the Director of Research, Geralyn Hynes

Projects available for PhD/MSc supervision

1. Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Women, Children and Families Prof Cecily Begley

Childbirth, Reproduction and Maternity Care

1.1 MAMMI (Maternal Health and Maternal Morbidity in Ireland). Please see website for information on this project http://www.mammi.ie/. Researchers: Prof Deirdre Daly and Prof Cecily Begley

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Use of antibiotics in pregnancy, labour and postpartum
  • Women's experiences on Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section (VBAC) Prof Cecily Begley
  • Anal incontinence: risk factors and interventions
  • Obesity and associated factors in first-time mothers
  • Other morbidities, including perineal trauma and pain - please contact us to discuss
  • Activity and exercise during pregnancy and postpartum
  • The economic costs of becoming a mother
  • Breast-feeding issues and experiences

1.2 Promoting normality in childbirth Prof Cecily Begley

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

  • Use and abuse of oxytocin in labour
  • Reducing episiotomy rates in Ireland
  • Increasing the use of expectant care in the third stage of labour
  • Other topics - please contact us to discuss Prof Cecily Begley

1.3 Trauma and traumatic loss in childbirth Prof Joan Lalor

  • Development of a model of palliative care for neonates with life limiting conditions (well developed)
  • Continuing bonds - preserving a place in the family for the baby that dies before or soon after birth (RQ and methodology done)
  • Parents' experiences of witnessing resuscitation and death in the NICU (RQ and methodology done)
  • Transition to motherhood/fatherhood when your baby is in the NICU (GT - S&C approach to verify/modify extant theories and adapt to NICU)

1.4 Parents and parents with a disability Prof Denise Lawlor

  • Preparing for parenthood with a disability
  • Parenting with a disability
  • Transition to fatherhood for fathers with a disability
  • Motherhood and homelessness
  • Development of a care pathway for women with a disability accessing maternity care

1.5 Infant feeding Prof Louise Gallagher

  • Use of social media and technology to support breastfeeding
  • Development of family-centred strategies to support exclusive breastfeeding
  • Exploration of the use of incentives to increase breastfeeding rates among Irish mothers

1.6 Assessing fetal wellbeing during pregnancy and childbirth Prof Valerie Smith

  • Women's views and experiences of fetal heart rate monitoring on admission to the maternity unit with signs of possible labour (mixed methods design)
  • Fetal heart rate monitoring during labour
  • Monitoring fetal movements in pregnancy: women's perspectives
  • Evaluating methods for detecting decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Evaluating clinical care pathways/strategies for women presenting with decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Development of a core outcome set of measures for use in trials on fetal movements in pregnancy (e-Delphi and other consensus methods)

1.7 Models of Maternity Care Margaret Dunlea

  • Models of maternity care in general
  • Developing and implementing a continuity integrated antenatal care pathways
  • Piloting group models of antenatal care
  • Piloting continuity and integrated care models
  • Women's experiences of perineal suturing
  • Developing the role of the midwife in primary care

1.8 Preparation for Birth and Motherhood Prof Vivienne Brady

  • Action research to promote womens' involvement in Health Research, Service Planning and Development
  • Antenatal education to address fear in childbirth
  • Developing Postnatal Community Supports for women as new mothers

1.9 Community Midwifery and Homebirth Prof Colm O'Boyle

  • Exploration of home birth services - integration with hospital services
  • Self-employed community midwives' experiences of home birth services since INMO insurance withdrawal, and the passing of the Nurses' & Midwives' Act 2011 and statutory requirement for indemnification
  • Memo of Understanding as means for supporting SECM/Home birth
  • Home birth service governance
  • National Maternity Strategy normal risk/supported care pathway

1.10 Children, Young People and Families' Health and Wellbeing Prof Imelda Coyne

  • Medication adherence for adolescents with diabetes. This project will build upon a position statement by the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine on medication adherence. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Evaluation of an art-based intervention to promote transition to adult services for adolescents with a chronic illness. This project will build upon a systematic review which has been completed in this area. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Developing self-management skills for adolescents with a chronic illness. This will build upon work done in the area of transition and self-management needs. Prof Imelda Coyne
  • Development of an intervention to support children’s (with Autism Spectrum Disorder) engagement with an Emergency Department stay using action research. Prof Imelda Coyne

2. Ageing

Ageing and Intellectual Disabilities Prof Mary McCarron

2.1 IDS TILDA - The Intellectual Disability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (see http://www.idstilda.tcd.ie ) Prof Mary McCarron

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Understanding risk for, prevalence, and incidence of type II diabetes among adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Understanding the impact of engagement in good nutrition, physical activity and health screenings in the health status of people with an intellectual disability.
  • Understanding prevalence, incidence and patterns of epilepsy among adults with an intellectual disability and its implications for health and social care.
  • Establishing key determinants in good health in persons with ID over age 60.
  • Understanding similarities and dissimilarities in cardiovascular disease progression for people with ID compared to the general population.
  • Changing patterns of social engagement for people with ID as they age.
  • Understanding cognitive frailty in people with ID.
  • Differential patterns in health services offered to people with ID compared to the general population when disease patterns are similar.
  • Hypertension risk factors and prevalence in Down syndrome specific adults versus the general population
  • Obesity and associated factors in adults with intellectual disability.
  • Obesity and obesity-related secondary conditions in Older adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  • (Instrumental) activities of daily living in older adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • The prevalence of constipation in institutionalized people with intellectual disability.
  • Examining mental health issues in older adults with an intellectual disability.
  • Sense of belonging and community living for people with ID.
  • Cardiac risk profiles for ageing persons with ID: a comparison with the general population.
  • Understanding physical activity patterns for persons ageing with ID.
  • Understanding gastro-intestinal disease in ageing people with ID.
  • Meaningful day activities and fulfilling life roles for people with ID.
  • Exploring the changing nature of caregiving for people with ID.
  • Exploring usefulness of quality of life measures for people with ID.
  • Tracking availability and quality of end of life carer for people with ID over time.
  • Exploring the association between sedentary behaviour and cardiac risk in the ageing population.

For further information on any of the projects, please refer to: http://nursing-midwifery.tcd.ie/research/opportunities/IDS%20Tilda%20projects.php

2.2 Dementia and Down Syndrome Prof Mary McCarron

There are opportunities for PhD projects within this longitudinal, cohort study in the following topics:

  • Prevalence of behavioral and psychological symptons of dementia in individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • Differentiating ageing among adults with Down Syndrome and people with ID from other aetiologies.
  • Understanding the onset of co-mordidities and fraility across the presentation of symptons of dementia.
  • Comparing the lived experience of people with Down Syndrome and dementia across residential, community and family settings.

2.3 Ageing Well

  • Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in cognitive screening protocols for older adult populations. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Developing the Resources and Life Strategy Management (REALISM) Intervention for care co-ordination in older adults. Prof Claire Donnellan

2.4 Other research interests in Ageing

  • Investigating the biological mechanisms underpinning age-related modifications to the vasculature. Prof Aileen Lynch
  • Defining associations between cognition (global, executive and meta-cognition), self-regulation and goal attainment in neurological rehabilitation (this topic will be applicable to nursing, psychology, allied health and medically qualified candidates). Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Assessing associations between physiological, cognitive and behavioural variables in older adults with neurodegenerative diseases. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development of a nurse-led clinical governance stroke programme in Ireland: NLCGSP. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Development and implementation of an integrated care pathway for the management of neurogenic dysphagia in gerontological care settings. Prof Claire Donnellan
  • Exploring the association between sedentary behaviour and cardiac risk in the ageing population. Prof Gabrielle McKee

3. Mental Health, Mental Distress and Mental Illness Prof Agnes Higgins

3.1 Developing and evaluating recovery-orientated and rights-based strategies for service users, families and practicioners

  • Social Exclusion, Incarceration and Reintegration within Civic Society. Prof Damien Brennan
  • Oral narratives of past Mental Hospital residents: A Historical Sociology. Prof Damien Brennan
  • The capacity for care provision within contemporary Home/Domestic spaces in Ireland. Prof Damien Brennan
  • Critical reflection and care erosion in hospitals. Prof Jan de Vries
  • Professional dissonance: discrepancies between nursing education and clinical practice. Prof Jan de Vries

3.2 Mental Wellness, Illness and Distress: Determinants and Impacts Prof Louise Doyle

4. Population and Community Health Prof Geralyn Hynes (Interim)

4.1 End of Life and Palliative Care in Malignancy and Non Malignancy Prof Geralyn Hynes

  • Identification of clinical indicators of spiritual distress in palliative care patients and nurses' competencies in the provision of spiritual care. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • Developing and evaluating the impact of a web-based spiritual care educational package for nurses. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • Patients' understanding of spirituality and spiritual care. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • An evaluation of the benefits of chaplaincy services in the Republic of Ireland. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • Mapping patient's illness experience, awareness and prioritising against the 'surprise question' and clinical intervention. Prof Geralyn Hynes
  • Mapping regulation of end of life care against evidence of palliative care in residential care. Prof Elizabeth Fahey-McCarthy
  • Specialist generalist palliative care interface. Prof Geralyn Hynes
  • Exploring intermediate palliative care. Prof Geralyn Hynes
  • Logo therapy and meaning oriented research in palliative care. Prof Geralyn Hynes
  • Non-specialist palliative and end of life care in the care settings. Prof Geralyn Hynes
  • Palliative and end of life care for people with dementia and their families. Prof Geralyn Hynes and Prof Louise Daly

4.2 Cancer Prof Geralyn Hynes

4.3 Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing Prof Gabrielle McKee

  • The effectiveness of a web-based intervention in reducing pre-hospital delay time in patients with acute coronary syndrome in the primary care and secondary care setting. Prof Gabrielle McKee
  • An action research project to evaluate, develop and implement telephone follow-up as a mechanism for post-discharge support. Prof Sharon O'Donnell
  • An action research project to evaluate, develop and implement a standardised patient discharge information protocol in a cardiac setting. Prof Mary Mooney & Prof Frances O'Brien
  • An action research project to evaluate the problem of non-attendance at cardiac appointments and to develop and implement a strategy to address this. Prof Gabrielle McKee and Prof Mary Mooney
  • A mixed methods to evaluate the experience and value of the internship period among newly qualified nurses. Prof Mary Mooney & Prof Frances O'Brien
  • An evaluation of the new Percutaneous Coronary intervention (PCI) programme. Prof Mary Mooney & Prof Frances O'Brien

4.4 Chronic Illness Management

4.5 Sexual Health

  • Sex and relationship concerns and people with mental health issues. Prof Eddie McCann
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and mental health. Prof Eddie McCann

4.6 Population and Community Health Prof Catherine McCabe

Addiction Prof Catherine Comiskey

  • Modelling the health, wellbeing and risk of addiction among the children of parents who use drugs
  • Addiction and ageing
  • Addiction and children
  • Addiction and innovations
  • Addiction and infectious disease
  • Addiction and data modelling

5. Trinity Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation (TCPHI) Prof Anne-Marie Brady

5.1 Practice, Service and Role Development Prof Anne-Marie Brady

  • Implementation science, a study of the implementation of research in policy and or practice. Prof Catherine Comiskey
  • Developing and evaluating the impact of a Web based spiritual care educational package for nurses. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • Patients' understanding of spirituality and spiritual care. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • An evaluation of the benefits of chaplaincy services in the Republic of Ireland. Prof Fiona Timmins
  • The evaluation of nurse-led rheumathoid arthritis practice using nurse-sensitive outcomes. Prof Gabrielle McKee

5.2 Healthcare Systems Prof Anne-Marie Brady

  • Patient safety solutions in healthcare
  • Innovation and models of healthcare delivery
  • Quality improvement initiatives in healthcare
  • Workforce development
  • Regulation, guideline and standards in healthcare
  • Evaluation and implementation of integrated care pathways

5.3 Digital solutions in integrated care Prof Anne-Marie Brady and Prof John Dinsmore

  • Technological innovation in healthcare
  • Technology and behavioural change

Other Topics - please contact us to discuss Prof Anne-Marie Brady