Posts about: Meet our Staff

60 seconds with Ian Cummins, Senior Lecturer in Social Work

12 June 2016
Ian Cummins

Ian Cummins

1.What is your position within the School?

I am in a Senior Lecturer in Social Work.

2.How long have you worked in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, University of Salford? 

I have been at Salford since November  2003.

3.Which building are you based in?

Allerton C607.

4.Why did you choose to work within the School?

The current school was formed from the previous school  where I was based.

5.What is your most memorable moment of being in the School?

Jackie Kay the Chancellor agreed to attend a reading group with students to discuss her brilliant memoir Red Dust Road.

6.What is your biggest dream?

A sabbatical at Berkeley.

7.When you are not at work what do you do to relax?

I read quite a lot and shout at the radio.

8.What was your first job?

I worked on Saturday at Sainsbury’s – the manger told me it was my duty that wherever I saw a Sainsburty trolley it was my duty to return it to the nearest store. A code I have lived by ever since.

9. What has been your greatest achievement?

At work being introduced to students’ families and loved ones at Graduation

10.What would make your job easier?

Less admin.

11.Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to students/colleagues?

Buy Mental Health and the Criminal Justice System available from Critical Publishing  – it is excellent.

Meet our Lorraine

11 April 2016
Lorraine Abbott

Lorraine Abbott

Hello there and welcome to my first ever blog attempt!

I’m Lorraine, new in post, in a newly created post, as teaching and learning intern.  I’m still reeling, slightly, from the culture shock of leaving the NHS and moving into higher education. My colleague Caroline described the feeling as being like lions raised in captivity suddenly being released into the wild…

So, this is me. I’m a 46 year old mum of 3 (allegedly) grown up kids, and I have a beautiful 17yr old human dog. I read, everything and anything and I wouldn’t want to live without music in my life.  You may think I’m a quiet, shy person – but then they say the quiet ones are always the worst… I am a nurse so I have that sense of humour that we all know and love.

I like to learn new things…2014 was Spanish and 2015 was navigation, so if by any remote chance your Spanish friend gets lost on a mountain in the dark – I’m your girl! In 2016 I’m probably going to learn plumbing, I think. Well why not. To me life isn’t about being having ‘things’ (trust me on this one kids). It’s more about happiness, growth, and making a difference. Discuss?

I trained as an adult nurse at Salford and told my friends I wanted to come back to work here as a lecturer. And here I am! Sorry about that! 😉

In a nutshell; I went straight to work in the community at Bacup. I LOVED it. I did my CSP at level 7 and got a job as a district nurse sister on nights, and then days in Oldham. I’ve worked in a community hospital, and just before coming to Salford I worked as tissue viability support nurse on the acute side.

I have a strong community skill set and a deep ingrained love of district nursing.  I loved the patients, the challenges, the diversity and the autonomy of the role, and the often humbling, privilege of caring for people in their own homes.  District nursing gets in your blood – and I hope it never leaves me. I’m passionate about the NHS and I would like to pass on my knowledge and passion for nursing to student nurses. I firmly believe the community is the future. I’m also interested in the current political environment – it’s certainly an interesting time for healthcare in the UK right now for both nurses and nurse teachers when change seems to be the only constant.

So, 500 words?  Well – you hired me (that’s my disclaimer)! While I’m still ‘new’ I’m absorbing as much as I can, exposing myself to as many different things as I can, getting involved in writing and research, learning, making friends, and getting to know my family again. I’ll do my best, no doubt I’ll make a few mistakes along the way – but I’ll learn from them – eventually, probably.  I’m not a bloke so I’m happy to ask for direction if I need to.


Lorraine Abbott, Teaching and Learning Intern Lecturer
School of nursing, midwifery, social work and social sciences

‘Lever privacy handle: Straight polish brass’

3 April 2016

keep-calm-i-am-addicted-to-bloggingBath running, thinking of the events of the week; dipping into the ragbag of inspiring moments to write, after catching sight of the open cardboard box which contained our new bathroom door handle. I make a connection with Bachelard and the poetics of space, reading the sentence about finding the essence, the shell of the house/home with a rising emotional response as I look at the devastation that is / was the bathroom. Knocking down walls, between the old-fashioned separate toilet and the tiny bathroom, ‘privacy handle’ – we are at last creating privacy by being able to lock ourselves in; no more potential barging in / negotiating delicate moments.

Remembering the discussion in a classroom this week, talk with a group of students faced with their first piece of assessed writing, and encouraging them to engage regularly with the work during their forthcoming placement. Such advice, writing little and often, building ideas gradually, chimes with Foucault and his observation (for him it was half an hour a day) that he felt absolved, peaceful after doing this.

doorhSo, writing about bathroom door handles, whilst on first impression, might seem a bit too prosaic, banal even, it seems approachable, leads somewhere else – and I am surprised, although I shouldn’t really be – the sociology of everyday life is about the richness of exploring the ordinary…

In sharing these ideas I am mindful that I may be still fetishizing the process of writing – specific paper and pens before committing to cyberspace (c.f. Barthes). What would he have made of IPads and blogging; with the relocation of the pleasure of the text – the internet and presentation of intimacies of the self? Privacy as taken-for-granted, what constitutes private life is increasingly complex; sharing in virtual reality has become normalised, everyday intimacies shared with unknown readers.

Public and private have been ‘troubled’ – is this private , no, but it is arguably, chosen, with the concomitant potential for exposure (am I saying more than intended, ‘being read’ in unforeseen or unexpected ways…) Privacy made public through choice (letting others in) contrasts with space hacking (cyber or otherwise) – invasions in intimacy are very much still part of everyday experiences in health care, nurses and others begin to take for granted bodily and emotionally intimate information – may forget the embarrassment of leaky bodies. Exploring in the classroom what it means to have confidentiality, private materials shared (hopefully) respectfully and with ethical sensitivity.

Bathrooms have been a source of anthropological attention – liminality and the riskiness of being an ‘in-between’ space, a space of transition; human geographers who speak about meanings of space, transgressing space (‘space hacking’ the built environment of public arenas as a political act, enabling a reorienting of our perceptions of urban environments – having a lock on the door powerfully re-orients the experience of being in the bathroom…).

Public and private space is active then, with shifting co-ordinates, inseparable from issues of power of one kind or another. Managing hygiene, ‘going to the bathroom’ is imbued with meanings that have had lots of attention. Creating privacy – locking the bathroom door to construct the ‘thinking space’ of critical geography, the richness and pleasure of the phenomenology of privacy, a heterotopic space devoted to activities of purification, sensual and hygienic. Finally, doing the bathroom after all these years; being able to lock the door, privacy feels novel.

Dr. Angela Cotton,

Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences

Technophobe or Technotrier?

7 March 2016

Are you regarded by your academic colleagues and students as a technophobe?

Does your heart sink every time you are exhorted to use some form of online blended learning?

An alternative word for blended may be mixed and that is sometimes my perspective on such approaches to the provision of learning experiences especially as frequently the exaltation appears to come from someone who has no insight or understanding of my contribution to the curriculum.


Amstrad PCW CC Image courtesy of JJ Merelo on Flickr

When I was an undergraduate student; many moons ago, studying nurse education, an optional module appeared in the third year of our studies which seem to be a necessary consideration for the future.  The module was entitled “Computer Studies” and I duly signed up with a degree of trepidation but a desire to understand the machinations of my Amstrad Computer in more detail.  Looking back it was not a detailed technical module.  The assignment for the module involved the production of a word document, an excel spreadsheet and a PowerPoint presentation; items which I now seem able to execute without experiencing the trauma of that module.  A particular sticking point for me at that time was that I was uncertain about how to save and retrieve the work that I was engaging in towards the assignment.  I approached the lecturer of the module for some advice.  She looked at me with that kind of pitying stare that just makes you wish you were anywhere else except standing in the classroom asking what was clearly regarded as a superfluous question. She sighed and said “follow me to the computer lab” where she endeavoured to answer my question.  In the process of her efforts somehow she managed to eradicate all of my efforts and so I learnt the benefits of always having a backup.  Why am I recounting this tale?  Is it perhaps because I was frustrated by the experience?  At the time it was devastating because I had to commence the assignment all over again.  Time; as for many students, was a scarce commodity for me.  At the time I was the ward manager of a paediatric unit and studying for my degree part time; juggling shifts and studying. At the very least the experience honed my time management and organisational skills.  However, it also encouraged me to persevere in the face of adversity.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 11.08.07This brings me to my more recent endeavours.  One of my responsibilities in the School is to introduce Pre-Registration students to professional standards of practice and behaviour.  I have the privilege of engaging with such students every year of their studies as they develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes towards the implementation of professional standards.  In year one students undertake an activity through Blackboard which is based on the Nursing and Midwifery Council websites and The Code.  In its early stages this activity was probably quite dull for students due to the repetitive nature of the question format and fairly demanding on personal teachers who are required to discuss the activity with their personal students.  This activity has now gone through several iterations with the latest format due to be presented to the students in the March 2016 cohort.  The activity now utilises several different questioning formats, provides immediate feedback to the students and is less demanding on personal teachers. Progress.

In years two and three students are presented with pre-reading via Blackboard; this may involve looking up websites, reading documentation of viewing PowerPoint slides before attending of face to face session.  In year two the activities are focused around the conduct and behaviour of students and the session is delivered to the whole cohort which may be up to 300 students. In year three the activities are focused around the conduct and behaviour of Registrants and the session is delivered via seminar groups of up to 30 students.


Secretive / CC Image courtesy of Dina Spears on Flickr

I have been encouraged to try out some apps both before students attend the session and in the session itself as a means of gauging knowledge. However please be aware that on the face of it some apps may appear to be incredibly helpful on first review but not all of them able to deal with the numbers of students then I engage with in class.  One app in particular; in the version available to me, the maximum number of respondents is 50, and so not feasible for me to communicate in whole cohort settings.  Unfortunately, I only discovered this fact when I tried to use it with a large cohort of students.


Kahoot / CC Image courtesy of The Daring Librarian on Flickr

I have had more success with an alternative app both in large cohort and small seminar groups.  However; connecting to the app or directly to the website for the application via Wi-Fi has proved challenging both in the large lecture theatre and smaller seminar classrooms.  This appears to be a capacity issue with the Wi-Fi connection but the students’ ability to connect also seen to depend upon the device they were using. Students have used phones, tablets or laptops all of which seem to have experienced some difficulties in making the required connection.  For the most part students appeared to deal with the connection difficulties with good humour; however, slow connections disrupted the flow of the session.  I have used both the quiz and survey formats via this second application and found the survey format more useful in a class setting to promote discussion of differing opinions.  The quiz format tended to draw out the competitive instincts of the students and was less productive in stimulating discussion.


Padlet / CC Image courtesy of Mrs.Meyer WSR Art on Flickr

For future large cohort second year groups I am going to try out an application which allows students to post their thoughts and comments electronically during the session and provides a record for them to refer to after the session when they are completing their follow-up activities.  In addition I hope to use a type of instant messaging system which will allow me to adapt the content of my presentation to the specific needs of the students as the session is delivered.

If I am honest I think am quite reticence about further of developing the range of applications I utilise during teaching sessions.  The prospect of the students not being able to engage effectively with the applications, various technical difficulties and my own less than confident competence make me cautious about expanding the repertoire of applications I utilise.  However, it would not be accurate to describe me as a technophobe but perhaps I would prefer the hitherto unknown term “technotrier”.  I am sure that I have; at times, tried the patience of my School’s Digital Teaching and Learning Manager as I raise what I am quite certain are naïve questions.  Perhaps the students too have had to be tolerant whilst I try out newly acquired skills.  I am still convinced of the power and value of face to face education; reinforced by the positive feedback of a greater than 90% excellence rating from a group of masters students (at least those who were able to connect!) who recently attended a third year fitness to practise session which I facilitated. This was despite subjecting the group to the use of various digital technologies.  They even clapped in appreciation, something I appreciated for a session which; although is always interesting, is also frequently challenging.

I am committed to being a “technotrier”. I am active on Twitter @chadwick_ruth and constantly amused and bemused about the acquisition of followers and what prompts individuals to engage.

I have started a blog as a space to muse on the professional traits of nurses, no-one is reading it yet; but it is early days.


There really is no substitute for experiential learning but I hope I will always have the courage to reject technology when using it would be just for the sake of it.

Ruth H Chadwick

Senior Lecturer / Student Facing Procedures Lead

School of Nursing Midwifery Social Work and Social Sciences

It all ends with Haribos……

28 February 2016

IMG_1541editedThis is my first blog for the School so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I have learned in being co Project Lead in developing the new pre-registration nursing curriculum.  It’s a story that I haven’t constructed in any logical fashion, which is perhaps a reflection of my state of mind for the past 10 months; but I hope that for those of you that have developed curriculum or are thinking of doing so, my story may prove familiar or useful…either as a source of evoking fond memories or as a deathly hallow that you should seek at your peril….

So it begins: As an admissions tutor I was privileged that at many points of the year I could escape the bosom of Mary Seacole and seek new knowledge from the wider education community through college visits, Open days and such like. It’s good to get out and see what is happening in the market and this practice supported my thinking of some years, that education is forever evolving and nurse education should be no different.  But I felt that at pre-registration, nurse education  was stilted, regulatory driven with an emphasis on the traditional and sticking to “the rules” – entities I have never been that good at not questioning.  I remember embarking upon this tirade of free thinking to Tony Warne, the then Head of School, who listened and then paused in thoughtful contemplation (or at least I hope that’s what it was). I was expecting the “get your coat and P45 on your way out Joanne” moment, but instead he asked me about business, and how a curriculum might respond to various sector drivers.  Keen to give a semi- reasonable response I produced my black book, which contains what I refer to as “100 rants never written” and reeled some off.  The shelf audience of black chickens offered no heckling so I assumed that was that and Tony agreed, at least in principle.  So…I assume after following some consort with the aforementioned audience, Tony tasked me, along with my colleague Dawn Hennefer, with co-leading  the pre-registration curriculum development project (C16 as it is now referred)to be completed in less than 12 months.  At this juncture I think it important to say that I now refer to Dawn as my academic wife; Dawn is a very level headed, calm and considered person so I guess Yin and Yang were at play.

We started work on the curriculum in April 2015 struggling to juggle everything with both of us having extremely heavy workloads and key roles within the school. We sat with year planners and calculators, NMC competencies, module and programme specs, policy documents, and set about writing the curriculum.  We were helped by a variety of people in the School, and those people know who they are – THANKYOU: they offered advice, raised eyebrows as tactful “you may want to think about that” pointers, and the occasional pat on the back and words of encouragement when we needed it.  We submitted the curriculum to the Programme Approval and Review Panel (PARP) in December 2015 and subject to amendments, which we sat doing on Xmas Eve, and beyond, the curriculum was approved.  We now await the review from the NMC in April whilst frantically completing “mapping” exercises and finding new ways to interpret old “rules”.  So in the interests of saving you some time if considering this path, the lessons I have learned are:

  1. Never rant to the boss without being prepared to put your money, or your mental health, where your mouth is.
  2. Always check that rules are set rules and not custom and practice.
  3. Think Yin and Yang when working with someone else.
  4. Harness the rants and enthusiasm of others to help you get the job done.
  5. It’s better to re-plaster, sand off and paint afresh than paper over cracks… And most importantly…………….
  6. Keep a bag of Haribos in your top drawer.

Joanne Keeling
Assistant Director ­ Pre-Qualifying Nursing Directorate School of
Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences

It all started with an idea!

21 February 2016

Julie and Mary

We are so proud and happy to be invited to share some of our experiences as book authors in this blog: It all started with an idea! Mary and I had the idea to write a book on supporting families and carers way back in 2014; in response to an awareness that our own student nurses were unable to find good sources for their learning. As teachers in the BSc Nursing programme of a module entitled ‘supporting families and carers’ we knew that dedicated nursing texts were few and far between. Also we had both uncovered evidence in our respective doctoral studies of the need to support families in recovery processes, so it made sense to join forces to address this huge knowledge gap. As they say two heads are better than one!

With our energy and passion we steamed ahead and wrote a book proposal which was very well received by the publishers Taylor and Francis in 2014. Having impressed the publisher the book was then commissioned with a 12 months turnaround. Our determination to deliver on time was a priority and so as in all good partnerships we recognised the importance of working to our unique strengths. For instance Mary took the lead on time management and underpinning theory. Julie focused upon gathering case studies of caregiving and practical issues from carers. Our writing had to be woven into our busy schedules and of course impacted on our social and personal lives. On the one hand this personal sacrifice was a given as there was no way we could work full-time as academics and write 55,000 words each without ‘giving up’ personal time. Such additional work load requires juggling and tough decisions; having studied part-time previously (on top of full-tine work, raising children and being carers ourselves) we knew full well what was possible. Willingly we both gave up annual leave and weekends to write; our incentive was the vision of a finished product! Just knowing the book would be useful to students, nurses and health professionals more widely was enough to keep us going. Team working was an essential ingredient and Mary did a wonderful job ensuring we kept on time.

Supporting Families and Carers A Nursing Perspective 9781498706704During the process we had an opportunity to speak at a Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) carer awareness conference (see photo) and we yielded much information but moreover, an absolute injection of certainty that our book was so needed for nurses. Fuelled with energy we carried on reading, thinking and writing.  In the summer of 2015 an almost finished book emerged; we were thrilled and satisfied. So off went the draft to the publishers and then to the external reviewers. What a pleasure it was that the feedback was highly positive with few changes proposed. We made the changes and submitted our final book in September 2015. The publisher then worked on the manuscript while we choose the book cover (see photo); we selected an image of people and a tree to represent difference, growth and togetherness. We hope you like it too. Writing this book as been so satisfying and rewarding on a personal and professional level. Our launch event is looming and will be on 12.4.16 Allerton concourse at midday and we are so excited. We do hope people will come along but also purchase a copy to enjoy and learn from.

Dr Julie Wray

Senior Lecturer Multi-Professional Post-Graduate Studies
User and Carer Lead | A Scholar of the Florence Nightingale Foundation
School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Science, University of Salford,

Twitter @JuWray

We really value the student experience

15 February 2016

karenLast week was a whirlwind of interviewing and recruiting to our undergraduate and postgraduate BSc and MA in nursing. It’s always a pleasure to meet new people and to network at events that take me away from the university, and last week was no exception.

I was invited alongside others from various universities and colleges, to showcase what we offer in nursing here at Salford, to members of the NHS Trust at the Pennine Acute hospitals. Here staff who aspire to studying nursing were invited to come along and discuss their options. Many have years of experience as Health Care Assistants, and it Untitledcan be so humbling to learn of their individual journeys that have contributed to their development so far. Here at Salford we offer a unique way of helping such candidates gain entry onto our programmes, and in nursing, we support non-traditional access onto our courses using the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES). Already two of the staff have made contact and are in the process of making an application to start studying from September this year.

care2 copy
There is so much interest in the courses that we offer, and last month myself and colleagues from nursing and Midwifery visited a number of schools within the area to showcase our portfolio of courses. Young people in years 10 to 12 can be amazingly astute and have a real focus on what they want in their future careers. Colleagues took part in a ‘speed dating’ activity, answering questions, and I was involved in mock interviews for aspiring undergraduates; another very humbling and enjoyable experience.

Having worked within the school since it joined the university in 1996, I have always been involved in recruitment and selection of candidates to our courses. Outreach activities that support our recruitment in the school is always a priority within my role, and I would welcome contact from careers advisers and educational staff involved in supporting career development in their students. Our portfolio includes nursing, midwifery, social work, and in addition counselling, social policy, criminology and social sciences. We are making the final touches to our new practice suites right now. This will add to our award winning facilities and give our students cutting edge exposure within the safety of the school setting.


We really value the student experience, and this is mirrored in the practice setting within the NHS, social services and the private sector.

Please get in touch.

Karen Wild

Senior Lecturer (Adult Nursing & Knowledge Application), Student Opportunity Lead

School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Science| Mary Seacole Building, room 189. | Frederick Road Campus | University of Salford | Salford | Greater Manchester | M6 6PU

0161 295 2788



Mid life transformation: From social worker to academic

7 February 2016

donna1As I start to write this blog I realise there is so much about me that is already on the internet.  So, you can find out things about my reflections about teaching and learning here in a blog I wrote as part of my postgraduate academic practice certificate.  If you venture to read that blog, you will discover elements of my character and history. These days my ever chatty nature leads me to love Twitter, as you will see if you visit here.  The life I experience now, is vastly different from my very humble beginnings living in an impoverished area of Manchester. I missed a lot of primary and secondary education and it was only a fluke that enabled me to go to college. I left home aged 18years and was self sufficient from that time. Well almost, at times without money and occasionally without sufficient food. But struggling to survive and make ends meet was familiar to me.

I sometimes remark that I was born a social worker; the eldest of six children I quickly learned to be responsible and to develop skills that met the needs of others. From 1985, I worked as an unqualified social worker in children’s homes until in 1995 I completed the diploma of social work at the University of Salford. There is not enough space to explain what those years of experience gave me. However, I will share with you that, although I have never had children, there exist in the world people who think of me as their mum.  That never fails to make my heart swell, with both joy and sadness, for them and for me.

donna2My career progressed into working in child protection teams, before later working for the children and family court advisory and support service (CAFCASS). The final ten years of my career were spent acting as an expert witness for the family courts. Despite my social work skills and knowledge, I tried and failed to complete a degree on two occasions. However, in 2006 I embarked on a five year journey with the Open University and was awarded a first class honours degree in psychology. This was such a boost to my confidence that I went on to achieve a MSc in family and child psychology (with distinction) in 2012.  For me, this was a huge achievement. I was in my 40’s and the first person in my family to go to university. The urge to learn continued and I embarked on a phd. In truth, I didn’t really quite know what a phd was, but I saw no reason why I couldn’t get one. I am now close to finishing my thesis, which explores the lived experience of prospective adoptive parents. This time next year, I will be Dr Peach and will become a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

My social work values are embedded in my role as an academic. I was delighted to lead the team which analysed the needs of the people of Rotherham following the publicised concerns about the sexual exploitation of children in the town. I am currently involved in other important projects which aim to combat the abuse of children. I firmly believe that ordinary people like me can make a difference. Ordinary people like me, with support and opportunity, do extraordinary things. I have even found myself published in the Conversation and the Independent newspapers.  But, I also like to have fun and spread joy, particularly raising spirits and funds in my Christmas costumes.

donna3Life is about continual learning. Sometimes this is recognising we each have a voice, and we can, indeed we must, make a stand against social injustice. My passion remains to make a meaningful difference in the world, and let me tell you, if Donna Peach from Higher Openshaw can do it, then so can you.

Donna Peach, Lecturer in Social Work


31 January 2016

Ian / CoventryI was born and grew up in the thriving metropolis that is Coventry. This is one reason why I am fascinated by the paintings of the great George Shaw. I  moved to the North West to study as a post-graduate at Manchester University.

Ian Cummins

Ian Cummins

I originally trained as a probation officer. It is so long ago that not only did trainees qualify as social workers but they were also generously sponsored by the Home Office. In the first year of my course , I received a £200 book allowance. After working as a probation officer, I was civil servant – a job I was totally unsuited for and not very good at –  but I did meet Mrs. Cummins whilst working in that office. I moved back to social work and worked as a mental health social worker in Central Manchester before taking up academic posts. I joined the University in 2003 and became a Senior Lecturer in 2006. I have been the leader for both undergraduate and postgraduate social work programmes. In a move that surprised a lot of people – myself included – I was appointed the Acting Director for Social Work Education  for a period last year.

researchMy main research revolves around the experiences of people with mental health problems in the Criminal Justice system. This includes all areas of the CJS but I have focused on policing and mental illness.  I argue the CJS has become, in many incidences, the default provider of mental health care. In the area of social theory, I am influenced by Wacquant’s analysis of  processes of advanced marginality.and the development of the penal state analysis of the development of mental health policy has applied Jonathan Simon’s   notion of “governing through crime”  to the history of community care.   I am currently working in two areas : the history of anti-psychiatry and social work’s response to poverty.

Ian4I have just completed a book that examines mental health issues across the CJS. This is due for publication in March 2016.  I explore the way that the failure of community care policies have led to more people with mental health problems being drawn into the CJS. This is not only unjust but puts their health at greater risk.  The book argues that the use of imprisonment has to be reduced and that the only way to do this is by rediscovering the principle of dignity.  All those caught up in the CJS are our fellow citizens if we start from acknowledging this fundamental point then we would devise completely different responses to offending.

I am now working with colleagues, Sarah Pollock and Valerie Houghton on research that will examine the implementation of the Care Act in HMP Manchester. I am also involved in an evaluation with Kate Parkinson of a local project that is aiming to reduce the numbers of vulnerable young people who are “missing from home”.

Ian5With colleagues at MMU, I have been working on a series of papers about TV crime drama. These include discussions of the representation of stress in cop drama but also research that explored retired officers’ views. Like all right thinking people, I am slightly obsessed with the Wire – they teach a course on it at Harvard so we should do the same at Salford.

elfI am a reviewer for a number of journals, on the editorial board of the Journal of Adult Protection. I also write regularly for the Conversation, and the Socialcareelf and Mentalcareelf blogs. I suspect that I am best known across the School for having the clearest desk in the department and for that Elf video.

Ian Cummins, Senior Lecturer in Social Work

School of Nursing Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences

My journey from a Business graduate to a KTP associate

20 January 2016

About me as an associate

Carolyn Wilson, KTP associate

Carolyn Wilson, KTP associate

I obtained my PhD from Durham University in May 2014. The PhD was on the motivations of technology use by older adults. I then became a KTP research associate in Digital Health at the University of Salford in January 2015. This journey has allowed me to extend the research experience I already had; I have learnt a lot about processes in the health context and I have also had great opportunities to attend courses and conferences.

I studied for my PhD at Durham University Business School, however, my interests have always been in the well-being of people and how behaviour change can improve health and lifestyle. It therefore felt like a natural step to move more into the public health domain. I am now working with GPs and healthcare professionals on a particular digital health product for patients with long term conditions. This move has meant that I’ve learnt a lot about the research process in public health in a very short period of time. Being thrown into the deep end, I quickly learnt about the intricacies of local approvals, CCGs, CSUs and the IRAS website, which were all completely alien terms before I started at Salford. I can now, however, take confidence that I understand a little but more than I did before.

The KTP has provided me with great opportunities to attend conferences and courses. Having previously undertaken an unfunded PhD, this was a very exciting prospect and like a kid in a sweet shop, I definitely made the most of it. I’ve present at the 40th Anniversary KTP conference in Glasgow and at workshop on Digital Innovation in Health at the University of Salford. I’ve also attended courses on management, systematic reviewing, academic writing, digital health and the behavioural science of self-control.

Alongside being a research associate in Digital Health, I also teach online MBA and MA modules at Durham University Business School on a part-time basis. I have been teaching since 2011 and as a result I’ve taught on a wide variety of topics from methods of inquiry to social media strategies, improving management decision making and crisis management. I really enjoy both teaching and research and hope to continue these to a high level throughout my career.

About my research

The research that I am currently undertaking is part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Carolyn2between Dynamic Health Systems (DHS) and the University of Salford. The initial brief was to evaluate the effectiveness of VitruCare, a digital health service, at helping patients self-manage their own health. As the project has progressed, the research has also and we now have three different versions of VitruCare to evaluate.

The first is VitruCare for people with Long Term Conditions (LTCs): this service involves patients setting goals and action plans on how to achieve these goals. It provides a health tracking service for any measure the patient chooses; blood pressure, weight, food intake, exercise, time spent watching TV etc, with the idea that the patient can visualise their progress as they strive for a healthier lifestyle. The research on this cohort involves measuring patient health, symptoms, well-being and self-efficacy of managing chronic disease across an 8 month time period at baseline, 4 months and 8 months. Satisfaction is also being measured (4 months, 8 months) and focus groups are being held with both patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

The second version of the system is VitruCare Lite, which is intended for patients with hypertension or diabetes. The aim of this system is to provide the patient with pre-set goals and action plans so that they can move quickly to adding in values to their health trackers. It is essentially a time saving version of the system. These patients are being measured in the same way as the LTC cohort and results will be compared to see if there is a benefit to the goal setting and action plan creating process.

carplyn3The final version of VitruCare has been designed for patients in palliative care and is more centred on the well-being of the patient. As a result, the system provides the patient with trackers for mood, energy, symptoms and pain, an online space for a diary and a secure messaging service that can be shared with their HCPs. The benefit of this system on patients nearing the end of life is being investigated through repeated measure questionnaires at baseline and 3 months, focus groups, satisfaction questionnaires and extraction of information entered into the system.

The three different versions of the system that have emerged over the past 12 months may have reduced the numbers for a large quantitative study but we can look at the service development journey for three different cohorts and explore what worked and what didn’t work. Using the research gathered, principles from behavioural economics and journey mapping the service implementation will be evaluated and recommendations developed for the future of VitruCare.

Dr. Carolyn Wilson,

KTP Associate in digital health,

University of Salford, School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work & Social Sciences.