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News and events

Please have a look through our latest news and events from the Centre for Critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery.

For more detail and the most up-to-date information, please visit the CCRNM blog.

Previous Scholars at Work Presentations

17th March 2022


Presenter: Professor Helen Allan

Presentation title: Understanding professional identity: thoughts on research on the gendered nature of nursing

Short Biography: Helen Allan holds a Chair in Nursing at Middlesex University. Her main areas of research are reproductive health including the experience of infertility and parenting after IVF. Previous work has included a number of projects into clinical learning using ethnographic methodology. She supervises a number of doctoral students.

11th February 2021

Presentation on: ‘Nursing, stupidity and the benefits of higher education’

Presenter: Michael Traynor

Brief Outline: Some politicians and sections of the media see nursing as the only profession where it is actually preferable for its members to be less educated. This presentation discusses the links between level of education and professional status. On the way it summarizes different views of the professions. It ends by setting out some of the benefits of university education for members of the nursing profession.

Short Biography: Michael Traynor was born in London. He read English Literature at Cambridge University, then completed nursing and health visiting training. He moved to Australia where he was a researcher for the South Australian Health Commission. He worked at the Royal College of Nursing in London and at the Centre for Policy in Nursing Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is now Professor of Nursing Policy at the Centre for Critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery at Middlesex University. He is editor of the journal Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine. He recently wrote Critical Resilience for Nurses, published by Routledge in March 2017 and Stories of Resilience in Nursing, 2020.

26th January 2021

Presentation on: Attitudes of public staff and other key stakeholders to privatisation in the general public

Presenter: Mike O'Driscoll

Watch the video by clicking here: Click here!

Brief Outline: I will present the initial exploratory findings from the first data collection of my Doctoral research - an online survey with a sample of the general public in England (n=220) regarding their attitudes to privatisation and rationing in the NHS (especially since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which radically changed the structure of the NHS) .

The fundamental problem which inspires this research is an apparent contradiction between the views of the public regarding how the National Health Service (NHS) of the U.K. should be run and the way in which the service is actually run, in terms of recent reforms and its apparent future trajectory.

The NHS has been described as the closest thing the UK has to a national religion and opinion polls suggest that it is the most valued and trusted public service (King’s Fund / MORI 2018)  and one of the UK’s greatest national achievements. Research suggests that a majority of  people are opposed to privatisation of the NHS, regardless of political affiliation or demographic profile and yet most governments from Thatcher’s onwards have, in one way or another, sought to impose market models and privatisation on the NHS and this reached unprecedented levels with the Health and Social Care Act (2012) which was described by a senior Department of Health official as ‘‘the only change management system you can actually see from space – it is that large’’(Timmins 2012).

This Act abolished Primary Care Trusts and forced GPs to take the lead for commissioning healthcare services by coming together in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). CCGs were obliged by the Act to tender healthcare contracts externally, so that ‘any qualified provider’ (public, private or third sector) could bid and also removed the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health to provide a universal healthcare service, granting CCGs considerable discretion to choose which services to provide and who to provide them to. This has led to an increase in private sector provision and rationing of healthcare with many CCGs choosing not to offer, or to severely limit, varicose vein removal, cataract removal, IVF and many other procedures or treatments (Heneghan 2017).

These changes have attracted relatively little media coverage and awareness of them amongst the general public (and indeed amongst health professionals) seems to be low although there does not seem to be any published research on this point (one of the gaps in the literature which I hope to fill).

Furthermore, both COVID and Brexit may lead to further NHS privatisation. The current government’s approach to managing the COVID pandemic has been heavily focussed on the private sector in terms of track and trace,  test laboratories, PPE procurement and  the use of private hospital facilities (Wrigley 2020; The Guardian 2020). The EU referendum was allegedly ‘won’ by the Leave campaign on the promise of dramatically increase NHS funding (London Economic 2017) but many fear that Brexit may in fact lead to further privatisation as part of a trade deal with the US.

Short Biography: Mike O’Driscoll is a mixed methods researcher with a particular interest in the use of IT in social research. His first degree was in Sociology and Social Policy and has an MSc in research methods and is currently a Doctoral student at Middlesex.  Mike O’Driscoll has worked in many research environments including local government, charities and academia and has considerable experience in evaluations, particularly  in health and education settings (this link to publications gives an idea of his research interests  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9221-6164).

16th November 2020

Presentation on: Contract research in HE: atheoretical or anodyne?

Presenter: Professor Helen Allan

Watch the video by clicking hereClick here!

Brief Outline: I seem to have Two contradictory existences:

  1. Phd supervisor and researcher where I spend my time encouraging my students (and making myself explore theory to inform the social world.
  2. Contract researcher where I work on contracted work as a researcher with no seemingly obvious theoretical stance; neither is one wanted (apparently). It reminds me of earlier work I did on the massification and commercialisation of HE (in relation to students and maximising profit from numbers of students) while at Surrey. But here I am actively contributing to profit while doing nothing to develop theory which does rather seem the point of an academic?

Short Biography: Helen Allan is Professor of Nursing at Middlesex University in the Department of Nursing, Child Health & Midwifery. She has had three professional careers: as a practitioner in intensive care and women’s health; as a teacher and for the last 20 years, predominantly as a researcher. Her research is informed by sociological view of the world and she is co-founder and lead of the Centre for Critical research in Nursing and Midwifery in the Department.

Presentation of study on the experiences of transition to parenthood for infertile couples after successful non-donor IVF

Helen Allan presented to the Scholars at Work series in the Department of Adult Nursing, Child Health and Midwifery on her findings from the qualitative study into ‘The experiences of transition to parenthood for infertile couples after successful non-donor IVF.’

51st British Sociology Association Medical Sociology Conference, York University, September 2019

Helen Allan attended this conference and presented a paper on her current research: 'Transition to a Parenthood Identity: The Effects of Infertility and IVF on Heterosexual Non-Donor Infertile Couples' Experiences of Parenthood'.

Abstract: Recent social science research in the field of parenting following assisted conception has focused on the experiences of donor assisted conception and surrogacy.

This paper draws from a study which explored the experiences of the transition to early parenthood in 16 heterosexual non-donor couples and includes a specific consideration of the experiences of men as they navigate this journey. We argue that these couples’ transition to early parenthood can be as complex and provisional as in other newer forms of family making as they struggle with an emerging identity as a parent after successful non-donor IVF following their experiences of infertility. Their family making is contingent upon their ability to work at integrating their experiences of infertility and IVF into their emerging identity as a parent. This struggle is prominent when they contemplate a further pregnancy. Considering a sibling causes them further uncertainty and anxiety because it reminds them of their infertile identify and the possibility of further IVF.

We report novel findings about the experiences of this transition to parenthood: how couples’ identity as parents is shaped by the losses and grief of infertility and the anxiety of IVF. We argue that their struggle with an emerging parenthood identity challenges the normative, naturalised view of non-donor heterosexual IVF parenthood. Our work contributes to the work on identity in parenthood after IVF in an ongoing effort to understand how assisted technologies shape infertile parents’ lives. This paper reports a small study with a relatively homogenous sample recruited from one fertility clinic. Nevertheless as an exploratory study of an under researched topic, we discuss useful insights and ideas for further research with larger and more diverse samples.

  • Visiting Scholarship to the Centre for Reproductive Research at De Montfort University secured by Helen Allan, January-March 2019

    Helen Allan has secured a Visiting Scholarship to the Centre for Reproductive Research at De Montfort University January – March 2019. She will be working on papers with Professor Nicky Hudson and her team which arise from the Early Parenthood after IVF study.

    Helen’s collaborators on this study have been Professor Olga van den Akker (MU), Professor Lorraine Culley (DMU), Dr Ginny Mounce (University of Oxford), Jo Killingley, Lindsay Ahmed and Therese Bourne (MU) and Ruth Hudson (Surrey & Borders NHS Trust)

  • British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Conference, Glasgow,  September 2018

    Paper presented: Early parenthood support needs following non-donor assisted conception: an integrative literature review.
    Authors: Allan, van den Akker, Culley, Mounce, Odelius, Symon.

    Paper presented: Metaphor use by patients with long-term conditions: a secondary qualitative data analysis.
    Authors: Lempp, Healey, Allan, Santana-Suarez, Arber, Lawrence, Gillet, Bristowe.

  • 'Guyanese expatriate women ask: is it a touch of sugar?' - Action Research, September 2017

    Professor Tina Koch, Professor Helen Allan and Dr Anne Mitchell worked with eight Guyanese expatriate women to foster new understandings of diabetes and improved self-management of the chronic condition. This not only helped to boost recognition that learning in a group is empowering, but also developed a strong voice about living well with diabetes and a rejection of the myth that the condition is 'only a touch of sugar'.

    Their findings were published in Action Research, and presented as a blog post on Action Research Plus.

    Download the full article

  • Compassion In Practice - Presentation at Royal College of Nursing Conference, 2017

    Professor Helen Allan, Mike O’Driscoll, Dr Liang Liu and Dr Kevin Corbett (Middlesex University) and Professor Laura Serrant (NHS England) completed the evaluation of NHS England’s Compassion in Practice programme in September 2015.

    Selected findings were presented at the RCN conference in Oxford by Professor Helen Allan and Mike O’Driscoll on 6th April 2017 , which sparked an interesting discussion.  The presentation is available to download below as well as the full evaluation report.

    Feedback or questions regarding the research are very welcome.

    Download the Compassion in Practice presentation 
    Download the Compassion in Practice evaluation report

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