UCL Institute of Child Health - DOC

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					UCL Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH

                            Research Assistant

                         Job reference: xxxxxxx

Unit                              The Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s
                                  Palliative Care
Grade                             Grade 6B
Salary (inclusive of London       £28,057 - £29,585 per annum, depending on
allowance)                        skills and experience.
Reporting to                      Dr Myra Bluebond-Langner
Duration                          12 months
Hours of work                     36.5 per week
Annual leave                      27 days per year
Probation period                  9 months
Closing date                      31 May 2012
Interview date                    21 June 2012

Background to post

The Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care was created to be a
world-class centre of research, teaching and practice in children’s palliative
care, hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and the UCL Institute
of Child Health (ICH). Palliative Care as it is understood here can be
appropriate at any and all points in the lives of children with life-threatening
illnesses and life-limiting conditions and their families as well as those who
are bereaved.

The Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care will support an
integrated approach to palliative care in which care is available from diagnosis
and delivered seamlessly along with disease-directed care. The Centre will
play a key role in the development of an evidence-base for palliative care and
in the dissemination of the results of research.

This is a core funded post in the centre designed to work closely with
Professor Bluebond-Langner and the wider team on a range of projects,
related to the central themes of the unit.

Core academic themes

It is our intention to deliver a sustainable programme of academic work,
informing policy, practice and education across four core themes:

1) The illness experience

In clinical practice as in research, understanding the impact of the illness on
the lives of these children and families requires that we follow the experience
as it unfolds, over the entire course of the illness from diagnosis through
death when the child is in the hospital, at clinic, at home, or at school. The

methods and techniques of ethnographic research are well suited to such an
approach and will be used in the study of the illness experience of these
children and families and in turn in the development of recommendations for
practice and policy.

2) Decision-making about care and treatment

We need to understand how the complex and difficult decisions parents and
children face are made. What are the significant factors in the decision
making process? What should the child or young person’s role be in that
process? How are parents and children best served by clinicians and other
health care professionals in that process?

Understanding decision making demands prospective, real-time studies. It
requires that we move beyond thinking in terms of models of consent and
assent, and that we formulate new empirically grounded accounts of the
process. Such studies will be at the centre of the research we do in decision
making as we pursue questions of policy and practice in advance care
planning for these children and families.

3) Pain and symptom management

Reliable control of pain in severely ill children is astoundingly an aspiration,
not a reality. Practitioners are all too often left to extrapolate choice and
dosage from adult medicine. Many of the drugs used in paediatrics are trialed
and licensed in adult population, yet children’s bodies are different and as
such effects differ. In partnership with the GOSH pain management team and
ICH unit in pain research we intend to launch a series of projects evaluating a
number of medications and interventions currently used in care and treatment
of these children in such areas as breakthrough pain, status epliepticus, and
chronic neuropathic pain.

4) Service delivery

Are the children and families who need palliative care services receiving
them? Are there barriers of whatever sort – physical, psychological, social,
economic or structural - that discourage or prevent children and parents from
obtaining the best in palliative care?

Using instruments that would yield comparable data we will undertake
collaborative, multi-site studies of specialist, hospital, community and hospice
based services across the UK. The results of these studies will be used to
inform the development of effective models of service delivery.


The postholder, will work closely with Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner, to
contribute to the conduct of current and future projects within the unit. The
focus of this post will be working on projects related to the decision making
theme of the unit.

      The post holders main responsibilities will be to, (a) assist in all aspects
       of research studies, including recruiting patients, families and
       professionals to approved studies, data collection, entry and

       management, collaborative analysis and presentation of results. (b)
       Transcribe verbatim audio taped interviews and prepare interviews,
       observations and field-notes for entry into the unit’s qualitative

Job Specification

      Participate in literature and instrument review, instrument development
       data collection and analysis.
      Transcribe verbatim audio taped interviews and prepare interviews
       observations and field notes for entry into the unit’s qualitative
      Undertake analysis of empirical data under the direction of Professor
       Bluebond-Langner and provide written reports of the analysis subject to
       her specifications in a timely manner.
      Carry out data entry on the unit’s qualitative and quantitative data
      Contribute to preparing and submitting project outlines for peer review,
       research and development review and ethical approval.
      Attend and make appropriate records of project steering groups.
      Contribute presentations to regular unit seminars.
      Provide the unit team on regular progress reports in relation to current
      Collaborate in preparing final reports of projects in a timely manner for
       a range of audiences.
      Assist in the development of proposals and articles emanating from
       projects undertaken.

Person Specification

Requirements      Essential                        Desirable
Qualifications/   Masters degree (MA, MSc,         Research training in
Training          MRes) in relevant subject        ethnographic methods.
                  area (e.g. medical
                  anthropology, medical            Research training in data
                  sociology, health psychology,    collection with children.
                  nursing. epidemiology)
Experience        Management of qualitative        Assistance in conducting or
                  data, including (a) collection   participating in mixed-
                  via interviews or                methods studies
                  observation, (b) verbatim
                  transcription from field notes   Working in health, education
                  and audio tapes, (c) analysis    or care settings with children
                  using qualitative data           and or families
                  analysis software
                                                   Working in health care
                  Assisting in collecting and      settings with clinical staff
                  analysing data as part of
                  research teams in high
                  quality research institutions
                  and organisations

                  Participating in multi-
                  disciplinary research

                  Assisting in preparing and
                  developing articles for
Knowledge         Understanding of the             Background in qualitative
                  research process                 research methods and
                                                   techniques (e.g.
                  Understanding of the             ethnography, interactional
                  implications of chronic and      analysis, content analysis,
                  or life-threatening, life-       grounded theory, open-
                  limiting illness on children,    ended interview studies,
                  young people and parents         focus groups) and working
                                                   knowledge of quantitative
                                                   methods and techniques.
Skills            Ability to transcribe verbatim   Ability to analyse and write
                  data from audio-tapes            up data fully

                  Excellent written and verbal     Training in Interview and
                  communication skills             recruitment skills

                  Good computing skills (MS
                  Word, Excel, PowerPoint
                  and web database

                  Good organisational skills
                  and attention to details

                  Ability to work alongside
                  clinicians in a range of care
Personal          Ability to work collaboratively
Qualities         and as part of a team but be
                  able to function
                  independently and
                  effectively without

                  Willingness to learn and
                  adapt to new techniques

                  Commitment to high quality

Background Information

The School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS) comprises four Faculties:
Medical Sciences, Life Sciences, Brain Sciences and Population Health
Sciences. The Institute of Child Health is one of four Institutes and Divisions
(Child Health, Women’s Health, Cardiovascular Science, Population Health)
which form the Faculty of Population Health Sciences. The Faculty’s aim is to
deliver outstanding research and teaching for improved human health. The
unifying concept that informs our scholarship and educational activity is the
life course. Between them the Institutes and Division, comprehensively
address all these phases and periods, and the health variations associated
with them at a population level.

In our work with other Faculties and through the Domains and UCL Partners,
and with neighbouring academic and health service colleagues, we aim to
realise the translational vision expressed in the structure of the School of Life
and Medical Sciences. In this way we can serve the needs of local, national
and international communities.

Further information on the Faculty and Institute can be found at
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/populationhealth-sciences               and

Details on the Palliative Care Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital can be
found here:

Full UCL terms and conditions for Research and support staff

An offer of employment will be subject to a Criminal Records Bureau

                       UCL Taking Action for Equality


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