Research Programmes: A patients journey through ICU and recovery: Learning from different disciplinary approaches.

Project Details


In 2004 over 9500 critically ill patients were admitted to intensive care units (ICU) in Scotland alone: this is obviously a traumatic and life changing experience for the patient’s families and particularly their children. Despite the high number of ICU admissions the author’s doctoral work was the first study to use group interviews in investigating families’ experiences during a critical illness and the interactions between nurses and families in the ICU. The findings also describe how young people experience a critical illness in their families.

A fellowship will enable the author to pursue the following goals:

• Disseminating PhD findings to academics and practitioners.
• Further training in health service planning, re-design of care delivery and developing future research with families and young people.
• Developing a high quality proposal for future research on the long-term post ICU effects of critical illness on patient, the families and young people and those health care professionals involved in their recovery.

Patients and their families carry the main burden of critical illness and the author’s research offers novel insights into how young people process critical illness in their families and points towards interventions to support young people during this traumatic period.

Layman's description

This was a personal postdoctoral fellowship and specifically designed to write publications from my doctoral work examining families' experiences when one family member needs intensive care treatment as well as starting professional networking. As part of this fellowship I made contact with Australian researchers and this collaboration has since then resulted in a very successful summer school for early career researchers as well as other projects.

Key findings

My research focuses on acute critical illness and the recovery from it and the impact on families. My work is located at the intersection of social science (medical, family & childhood sociology), nursing and health care delivery.
During the fellowship year my research findings have been disseminated in international conferences in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy and during a visit to a leading research center in Australia (Griffith University, Brisbane). Knowledge transfer seminars took place at the hospital where I did my PhD research attended by health care practitioners from many disciplines. I also wrote three journal articles targeting different audiences in an attempt to broaden the accessibility of my findings and attended several advanced courses.
The fellowship allowed me to access my mentor’s extensive networks of high profile researchers. This has resulted in a number of on-going collaborative projects as well as personal invitations to contribute to a special edition for an intensive care nursing journal and to make a presentation to intensive care nurses in June 2009.
This has been an intense and productive year of work which I have greatly enjoyed: the goals of the fellowship proposal have been met or exceeded. I feel privileged and am extremely grateful to ESRC to have been given this opportunity and to my mentor’s for their support and guidance.
Effective start/end date1/02/0831/03/10


  • ESRC: £88,184.00


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