I had the privilege to visit St Thomas’ hospital on the 15th April, having been invited to attend their lunchtime seminar and to do some networking. Being so close to London waterloo I enjoyed a gentle walk along Tower Bridge on what was such a beautifully warm and sunny day. Walking up to St Thomas’ was a poignant moment for me, working in Queen Alexandra which is a large and very new hospital in Cosham, I always feel like a small cog in a big machine. But looking from the bottom of the path, St Thomas’ was even larger, with its 12 floors dominating the immediate skyline.
My nerves that had been brewing were quickly dissipated by the warm welcome and introductions by Dr Kirstie Coxon, a research fellow whose research and Ph.D. looked at maternal choice regarding place of birth with regards to risk perception, this directly relates to my own doctoral study that Is assessing a decision support app created by Portsmouth Hospital NHS trust to support decision making and information gathering relating to choice of birthplace. I had previously had the opportunity to meet with Kirstie after she visited Portsmouth where we discussed relevant literature related to choice of place of birth.
Kirstie took me around the Women’s Health Academic Centre, home to many research fellows and research midwives conducting several research projects in the area of women’s health. I was introduced to her colleague’s and happily began sharing our different research passions and projects.
This week’s seminar was regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and the incidence of intimate partner violence in pregnancy presented by a third year Ph.D. student based in Mexico over in London for 6 months to present the findings of the research so far.
The seminar was informal involving other Ph.D. students, research midwives, fellows and the professor of midwifery. I felt extremely grateful to be invited into the seminar and involved in the discussion. I felt slightly anxious at the thought that I would be in this position at different points in my research study and I actively took notes for hints and tips on presenting.
The research was extremely interesting and provoked various discussions within the group such as how to identify intimate partner violence in pregnancy but more importantly how we can help those individuals identified. Following the seminar I had an opportunity to meet with Professor Jane Sandall who enthusiastically listened to my proposed research study giving me her years of experience and some avenues to think about perusing relating to my doctoral study such as possibly involving partners within the interview process. Taking to Jane about methodologies and how my Doctoral study will link with work already produced in the field confirmed my excitement in the project.
Following this I was introduced to Jenny Carter a research midwife who was involved in the preeclampsia study related to antihypertensive use to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths, she has just begun the process of a Ph.D. and we discussed our relevant areas of studies and methodologies.
The afternoon was finished by Kirstie showing me round their home from home birth centre and their obstetric centre, which was fairly similar to QA in setting however St Thomas’s provides women with amazing views across the Thames to sights that included the London eye, a major selling point to induce calm and serenity.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable, extremely enlightening and thought provoking trip; It gave me a greater understanding of the other areas of research under the umbrella term of women’s health and it also gave me further avenues to consider for my own research. I would like to thank all those at the Women’s health academic centre for making me feel so welcome and also Santander for awarding me the funding to make the visit possible.