Brighton Journal of Research in Health Sciences

Supporting Research in the School of Health Sciences


Wednesday 17th June 2015

Aldro 113,Eastbourne 1pm-2pm

The Neater Uni-wheelchair: Developing Evidence through mixed methods

Dr Anne Mandy PhD, MSc, BSc(Hons) Reader, Director of Post Graduate Studies


This presentation will detail the stages and types of research and development that were undertaken to produce a viable, clinically acceptable wheelchair. Wheelchair provision for users with hemiplegia are inadequate. This research evolved from a clinical issue and involved users, clinicians and a manufacturing partner to solve the problem. The research commenced 10 years ago, with the production of a basic prototype. The different stages of research, the funding difficulties and political arena will be discussed.


Dr Anne Mandy is a Reader and Director of Doctoral Post Graduate Research Students. Her research is centred around assisting mobility. She works inter-professionally with users, research engineers,rehabilitation therapists and manufacturers to provide an evidence base for therapists and greater choice for users.


Wednesday 10th June 2015

Aldro 113, Eastbourne 1pm-2pm

Straight leg raise treatment for individuals with spinally referred leg pain: exploring characteristics that influence outcome: an quantitative experimental design

Colette Ridehalgh, Senior Lecturer


The presentation will discuss the findings of my PhD study which aimed to assess the differences in the immediate response to a Physiotherapeutic neural intervention (a straight leg raise treatment) between 3 sub-groups of individuals with spinally referred leg pain (somatic referred pain, radicular pain and radiculopathy). It has been proposed that individuals with spinally referred leg pain may have poorer prognosis than individuals with low back pain alone, and that one reason for this may be greater levels of disability or psychosocial factors such as fear avoidance beliefs or higher levels of emotional distress. In addition, individuals with chronic low back pain may complain of a complex pain presentation called central sensitisation. Such characteristics could impact on immediate changes to treatment. This presentation will discuss the rationale for the study, the preliminary studies that were carried out in preparation for the main clinical study, and the overall results and implications.


Dr Colette Ridehalgh is a senior lecturer in the Physiotherapy division of the School of Health Sciences. She has been lecturing in both undergraduate and postgraduate neuromusculoskeletal Physiotherapy since 2002. She gained her PhD in July 2014, and MSc in Manipulative Physiotherapy (leading to membership of the Musculoskeletal Association of Physiotherapists) in 2002. She has published work from her PhD and other collaborative work and presented her work on nerve excursion and neurodynamic treatment at several National and International conferences.


Wednesday 27th May 2015

Aldro 113, Eastbourne 1pm-2pm

A session on NVivo

Hubert Van Griensven, Research Fellow


Seeking Sense in Mental Health

Mission Statement

We are a group of mental health nursing students aiming to create a therapeutic network to support students and professionals in practice.

We intend to provide a forum for open discussion and debate over practical and ethical issues relating to mental health theory, practice and service delivery.

Our network is intended to be multi-disciplinary and is open to all who work, study or simply have an interest or experience in the mental health field.

We appear to be at a time of great changes in the medical profession (Beasley, 2011; Lee & Fawcett, 2012) and nursing needs to find its own professional identity to develop and embrace those changes (Beasley, 2011; Clarke, 2012; Lee & Fawcett, 2012). However there appear to be conflicts within the very role of nursing. Advocacy, considered to be fundamental to nursing practice (MacDonald, 2006), is included as an essential quality of nurses in the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) code (NMC, 2008) yet policy, in the shape of mental health legislation focus on risk management (Department of Health (DH), 2005), demands that mental health nurses be complicit in the denial of liberty and enforced treatment of some of those in their care (Pilgrim, 2005; Szmuckler & Applebaum, 2001).

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the King’s Fund both suggest that nursing morale is at an all-time low (Royal College of Nursing (RCN), 2015; Independent, 2015). Seeking Sense in Mental Health (SSiMH) aims to focus on auditing morale levels of students in placement and attempt to find ways to address issues arising from workplace stress, consider questions over ethical or practical aspects of treatment and raise awareness of alternative or complementary perspectives.

SSiMH has a practical and intellectual purpose that aims to support and inform professionals, students and service users alike. One focus within the network involves bringing the process of mindfulness to our groups, encouraging participants to use the practice to benefit both their personal and working lives whilst potentially also offering positive experiences for service users, their carers and families (Beddoe and Murphy, 2004). Our interactions with clients carry myriad layers of our own mental clutter and one way of developing a ‘clutter free’ communication is to have awareness of possible countertransference. Scheick (2010) suggests that this awareness can be achieved through mindfulness.

The aim of mindfulness is to slow the rapid and stressful stream of thoughts that constantly flow through our minds. Coming to a point of acceptance that we are in the present, not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, and stilling the mind brings great calmness and an inner peace. When we are at our most relaxed and creative, we are in alpha brain wave mode. Stress is reported to deplete the alpha wave functionality of our brains while meditative practices such as yoga, Tai Chi and mindfulness enhance it (Miller, 2011).

Psychiatric drugs are associated with a variety of unpleasant and potentially life-threatening side-effects (Boseley, 2003; Boseley, 2005: Charatan, 2005) yet medication remains the dominant form of treatment for mental health problems (Moncrieff, 2009). The availability of alternative treatments such as psychological talking therapies is geographically inconsistent and access to them often involves long waiting times (DH, 2014).

We hope to encourage discussion and evaluation of the merits of complementary and alternative treatments. We have already started to develop links with service user groups and organisations such as the Hearing Voices Network who offer differing perspectives on mental health provision. We intend to invite speakers to share their visions of the future of psychiatric service provision and run workshops which will enable us to consider alternative perspectives on approaches to treatment and support. We recently held the first of these sessions, a well-attended Gestalt Art Therapy practical event which investigated emotional responses to visual imagery.

We have a facebook page, or follows us on twitter @SSiMH_Network and the SSiMH website is under construction. We welcome comments, questions and suggestions from students, service users, carers, professionals and anyone else who may also be seeking sense in the mental health field.

Nik Holland, Zoe Hughes, Robyn-Jayne Crofton, Laura Johnstone, Chantelle Maduemezia, Sasha Marshall, Imogen Sotos-Castello and Graeme Wetherill Mental Health Nursing BSc (Hons) students


Beasley, C. 2011. The heart of nursing: past, present and future, British Journal of Nursing 20(22) 1407.

Beddoe, A.E, S.O Murphy (2004) Does mindfulness decrease stress and foster empathy among nursing students? The Journal of Nursing Education 2004, 43[7] 305-312. Available at: Accessed 10/02/2015.

Boseley, S. 2003. Drugs for depressed children banned. The Guardian. Available at: Accessed 04/01/15.

Boseley, S. 2005. Drugs ‘can trigger suicide in adults’. The Guardian. Available at: accessed 04/01/15.

Charatan, F. (2005) Study finds that new antipsychotics offer few benefits over traditional drugs’ British Medical Journal volume 331 p. 717.

Clarke, P. N. 2012. Discipline-Specific Knowledge: Time for Clarity, Nursing Science Quarterly 25(2) 149-150.

Department of Health (2005) Government response to the Report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill 2004. London: Department of Health.

Department of Health (2014) Closing the Gap: Priorities for essential change in mental health. London: Department of Health.

The Independent (2015) NHS hospitals flatlining: Staff morale falls to new low after Coalition ‘bashing’ Available at: Accessed 16/02/15.

Lee, R. C. and J. Fawcett. 2012. The influence of the Metaparadigm of Nursing on Professional Identity Development among RN-BSN Students, Nursing Science Quarterly 26(1) 96-98. Available at Accessed 16/02/15.

MacDonald, H. 2006. Relational ethics and advocacy in nursing: literature review, Journal of Advanced Nursing 57(2) 119-126.

Miller, A. (2011) ​Exercises to Achieve Alpha Brain Waves. Available at: Accessed 10/02/2015

Moncrieff, J. (2009) Deconstructing psychiatric drug treatment’. In: Mental Health Still Matters, edited by J. Reynolds, R. Muston, T. Heller, J. Leach, M. McCormick, J. Wallcraft, and M. Walsh. Milton Keynes, The Open University.

NMC (2008) The code: Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives. London: NMC.

Pilgrim, D. (2005) Key Concepts in Mental Health. London: Sage.

RCN (2015) ‘Nursing workforce morale at all-time low’ Available at: Accessed 16/02/15.

Scheick, D.M. (2010) Developing Self-Aware Mindfulness to Manage Countertransference in the Nurse-Client Relationship; An Evaluation and Developmental Study. The Journal of Professional Nursing 27[2] 114 – 123. Available at: Accessed 10/02/2015

Szmuckler, G. and Applebaum, P. (2001) ‘Treatment pressures, coercion and compulsion’. In: Textbook of Community Psychiatry, edited by G. Thornicroft and G. Szmuckler. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The other woman

“I didn’t like your letter.” Norman said.
Rebecca, his daughter, had written to him on Father’s Day. It was formal and very unlike her usual style. She expressed her concerns, not so much at the marriage, but the secret way they had done the deed. She worried that he had kept something from her, perhaps about his health. She sensed something was not right, her intuition rehearsing all manner of tragic scenarios. He had phoned her that Father’s Day evening and told her about his cancer and the treatments he had undergone.
Some weeks later, Norman agreed to meet with his children for lunch for his 70th birthday, leaving his second wife, Esme, at home alone. Rebecca and Greg, his grown up children, insisted they wanted to meet and spend some time with him as a family.
They had lunch, but neither hungry nor enjoying the meal at the quiet bistro. After Greg left to go back to work, Rebecca and her father had some time alone together. He avoided her gaze, longing to get back to Esme. It was not the big welcome Rebecca had expected or hoped for.
“You seem to be living in another world, to have shut the door on me and Greg.” She said.
“Well, I have,” he replied. “I don’t understand why you can’t be happy for me. All our friends are.” His coldness shocked her, witnessing a side she had never experienced.
“You must know I found it so hard losing mum, and then all this… it was all so quick.” She said.
She blocked her tears, embarrassed to lose control in a public place. She longed for some indication of warmth and sympathy, a kind touch. He showed no empathy, not caring in the slightest that she had been so distraught and needed counselling to deal with the sudden death of her mother. It felt so brutal, not one iota of sensitivity to her pain. The impact of losing her mother, his wife of over 40 years, swept away, dismissed like the grubby plates in front of them from the half-finished meal.
“I can’t do this again.” Norman said sadly, as he fumbled for his coat.
“Ok, I understand.” She said. He had made his choice and he wanted her to be pleased for him, but she couldn’t, it was all so raw and his loving someone else felt so obscene and offensive to her mother, her memory violated.
She wondered why the need to be a part of her father’s life was so strong, why was her happy marriage, busy job, two children, not enough? What was it that had made their relationship so special? She had pondered, in her darkest moments, if there was something almost sexual, but this was ridiculous, she dismissed this. The umbilical cord to her past was pure and innocent and formed from her memories of childhood and adolescence: the unconditional love of a father to his daughter. He always made her feel she was so special.
Over the next ten years, Rebecca learned to be grateful that she kept some communication with her father. Christmas and birthdays, she used her boys as hostages to get through the threshold of her former parents’ house. Every visit .some subtle change had been made until nothing of her mother’s taste remained; her pictures were quickly relocated to the loft, Esme’s family taking precedence on the teak sideboard. All the detritus of the previous life removed, snuffed out so her memory was invisible.
At times, she found it hard to imagine where it would all end, if she would be allowed to see Norman if he became ill again or if she would be exiled. She rehearsed how she might respond. She dreamt of one bedside vigil, being called to see him, begging her forgiveness for all the hurt he had caused, content that the happy ending she longed for had come at last. But she knew that Esme would make her suffer in some evil way and she would hear after he had died, denied access to make their peace and forever living in pain and sorrow.
Sometimes she decided to sever all ties, protect herself, building her resilience to cope with the loss to come, but never quite having the guts to go through with it, always keeping some superficial reason to maintain contact, frightened of what she might lose and how she might feel afterwards, as there would be no going back.
Then Esme died suddenly, she could see Norman when she liked, no longer estranged, alienated from him after all those long years of separation. But it was a bitter-sweet victory, as dementia had crawled into his mind leaving an empty catacomb where memories of their happy times together once thrived.
The call came at 5.30am. “Get here soon as you can.” Greg said, exhausted from lack of sleep and the enormity of the situation. Rebecca drove through the night, oblivious to the driving rain and speed cameras. She ran to the Emergency Department the glaring white lights ablaze as she wove through the maze of curtains and rooms, searching for him.
He lay there attached to the ECG monitor, bleeping with life, taunting her with hope. She looked into his eyes but there was no response, just dark pools, fixed and dilated. He never wanted to be kept alive; his biggest fear dependence. The machine with its incessant alarm was switched off and he gasped his last breath. She left the room, letting out a primal scream, but no tears came. She didn’t care who heard her. It came from the very depths of her heart, so broken, mended and now ripped apart, and this time for good.
They moved him to a room, an oasis of calm in the madness of the busy department. He was laid out respectfully, his soft baby-like hair brushed neatly. Rebecca gently kissed his now cool forehead.
“I got you back.” She said.

Helen Stanley, Principal Lecturer School of Health Sciences

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