Brighton Journal of Research in Health Sciences

Supporting Research in the School of Health Sciences


Editorial – Issue 1

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This 2nd edition of the BJRHS contains research from two methodological perspectives: narrative inquiry and comprehensive, sometimes called systematic, review methodology; and one essay on the cultural construction of body image.

Kristina Usaite and Dr Josh Cameron describe how narrative data analysis is used in a study about promoting young people’s resilience through enjoyable structured activities. This allows them to discuss the importance of the resilience concept from an occupational perspective, and the relationship of resilience with flow theory. Their study is interesting both in terms of the growing significance of the resilience paradigm in contemporary discourses of empowerment in tacking individual, structural and social inequalities,.

My experience over the years of co-teaching the dissertation module for final year nursing students has helped me realise that many of them embark on their literature reviews with fear and trepidation. This results in low self-efficacy beliefs such as ‘everyone else can write and do well in their dissertation, but I can’t’, and also the view that comprehensive literature reviewing does not constitute proper research. It is therefore perhaps timely that this edition of the BJRHS contains four successful undergraduate SHS literature review dissertations submitted by students from very recent cohorts, and a literature review from a nursing lecturer. All showcase different styles and topics and constitute review exemplars – not to be copied but to guide readers of the journal who may be approaching and working on their own dissertations.

The topic of Amy Barlow’s review is the under-discussed role of exercise in helping people who are experiencing extreme psychological distress, and the emergent implications for a mental health nursing profession that arguably needs to reimagine itself in more creative, embodied ways.

Neil Molkenthin, like Amy a recent mental health nursing graduate, examines interpersonal relationships, arguing that the power held by mental health nurses impacts on their therapeutic relationships with service users. This is a constant problem for mental health nurses who are torn between humanistic educational principles and structural and institutional workplace factors that militate against the realisation of these principles.

Edward Liscott, a recent graduate of the paramedic undergraduate degree, explores the causes of inappropriate and avoidable uses of accident and emergency care. His review discusses clearly important and currently highly topical implications for the efficient and cost-effective use of our ambulance services.

Vinny Curtis, who graduated recently from the adult branch nursing degree, argues in his review that maggot therapy is an effective tool in the debridement of necrotic foot wounds. Despite this, due to the lack of rigorous random controlled trials available, there remains a lack of published evidence that supports its use. He concludes that maggot debridement therapy will one day be accepted alongside the current set of conventional debridement therapies rather than just being used as a treatment of last resort.

As part of his professional doctorate in education, the focus of Darren Brand’s literature review is around practice placements undertaken by student nurses in their BSc (Hons) in Nursing degrees. The author has an interest in the way in which students learn in the clinical setting. This is significant, not least because of the under-discussed tensions between the explicit undergraduate curriculum, the so-called ‘null curriculum’ (knowledge that doesn’t appear on this curriculum but arguably should) and the ‘way things are done around here’ service curriculum that nursing students are gradually and inevitably socialised to.

Systematic review methodology is also represented in the paper by Yvette Wagner and Dr Josh Cameron, within which the provision of social support from co-workers during the return-to-work process is explored. The authors argue that work is understood to generally benefit health and well-being, while absence from work bestows costs to the health of the individual and to the economy. Return-To-Work plans are implemented in many workplaces to allow individuals to recommence their duties.

Finally, Simon Whiffin’s essay on the relationship between shifting cultural discourses around the meaning of body image and what constitutes ‘ideal’ types across history and cultures, and the ways in which these shape national ideology, is of great relevance for scholarship and pedagogy in the health sciences. From a critical perspective, all normative healthcare practices are shaped by broader cultural discourses, as can be seen currently in, for example, the emergence of obesity as pathology, and so it is important that healthcare professionals are reflexively attuned to this.

On behalf of the editorial team – Dr Theo Fotis, Dr Chris Morriss-Roberts, David Bauckham and Simon Whiffin – we hope you enjoy and are helped by this current edition of the BJRHS.

Dr Alec Grant

Reader in Narrative Mental Health

Lead Editor, Brighton Journal of Research in Health Sciences

School of Health Sciences

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