Paula Dyce, Advanced Nurse Practitioner for cystic fibrosis and related diabetes, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital has been awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarship to undertake a study for her PhD. Her study is titled ‘Development and evaluation of a structured educational package for cystic fibrosis related diabetes.’ We spoke to Paula to find out a bit more about her project.
How did you find out about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships?
I heard about the Florence Nightingale Foundation research scholarships through a colleague of mine who suggested the Foundation as an applicable source of funding for my studies.
Can you give us an overview of what your research entails?
I am an Advanced Nurse Practitioner working in a specialised field. I was previously a cystic fibrosis (CF) nurse specialist for nine years but for the past two years I gained my master’s degree and further specialised in cystic fibrosis related diabetes (CFRD).
My research will involve structuring an e-learning teaching package for cystic fibrosis related diabetic patients. Patient numbers are growing and there are an increasing number of patients with cystic fibrosis developing complications such as CFRD. It is the biggest co-morbidity of CF, yet the current literature for type I and type II diabetes is not specific enough for this patient population. Sometimes patients are also given conflicting information, which can be confusing. The research will measure patients’ knowledge before and after the intervention.
What is the purpose of your research?
This research is for PhD level study, which I commenced in September this year. It is a very daunting prospect but I feel confident that with the support of my supervisors I will be able to achieve what I have set out to do. I am in the process of further developing my research proposal ready for registration and submission. I am a part time student so the period of study is five to six years.
Why did you choose to conduct your research on this topic?
The topic is part of my daily work and I found that we have had increasing problems with patients being confused about how to manage their condition. Previous research has demonstrated a reduction in lung function, weight and even life span if CFRD is not identified and managed correctly. I have identified a need to produce a robust method of delivering specific education to my patients.
I work in the Merseyside regional centre for adults with CF so we have some patients who have already been diagnosed and educated at other centres in the North West. Due to nature of CF, we are unable to conduct group sessions as patients are not meant to mix with each other due to cross infection. A different approach is required in order to deliver a large amount of structured education specific to CFRD.
What do you hope to achieve?
My aim is to implement a structured CFRD educational package that will be reviewed by patients every year to enable them to manage their CFRD more effectively. I hope that this package will improve clarity and empower people to manage their condition. The success and robust nature of the project will be identified through pre and post measurements after the e-learning has been delivered.
What research methods will you use to achieve your objectives?
The project will involve a mixed method approach. Qualitative methods ie questionnaires will be used to determine knowledge both before and after the e-learning has been provided. Quantitative methods will also be used in my research. I will look at glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), weight and lung function pre and post intervention together with continuous glucose monitoring, which has a statistical package to determine the range of blood glucose over a period of three to five days.
Will the scholarship make a difference to your career?
The scholarship will enable me to continue as the lead for the CFRD service at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and facilitate me to be a lead nurse in the UK for CFRD.
I would like to say many thanks to the Florence Nightingale Foundation as without the scholarship; I would be unable to conduct this study and progress to PhD status.
We will be following Paula’s research progress over the next year and look forward to seeing the results.