Posts By / Vanora Hundley

Joint PhD studentships: an example of FUSION in practice.

For many clinicians undertaking a PhD means choosing to either give up clinical practice for a period of time or studying on top of an already demanding full-time job. Now a partnership between the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) is making it easier for midwives to undertake a doctorate while still maintaining their clinical skills. The team has developed a novel joint studentship that will allow midwives to combine clinical practice with a research role, working across BU and PHT. The studentships will run for four years and PhD students will spend two days per week working as a midwife in clinical practice and three days per week working on their thesis. This set up facilitates the co-creation of knowledge.

In addition to providing the individual midwives with excellent education, these studentships are designed to examine an area of clinical practice identified by PHT where the evidence is lacking and research is needed. As a consequence the research studies will be directly relevant to practice and will have a demonstrable impact in the future. Hence BU will be able to show that its research and education have a direct benefit to the wider society. Finally, the studentships benefit midwifery practice by building a critical mass of researchers, which will help translate research findings into practice and so create a culture of evidence-based practice.

The result is a studentship that truly fuses research, education and practice.

The CMMPH/PHT partnership has developed three matched-funded PhD studentships for midwives, which will begin in September 2013. These joint PhD studentships will be supervised by both BU academics (Sue Way, Catherine Angell, Carol Wilkins, Maggie Hutchings, Edwin van Teijlingen & Vanora Hundley) and supervisors from PHT based in practice.  We are excited about this novel approach to PhD studentships and hope that we will have many more studentships with other NHS Trusts in the future.

For further information please contact Prof. Vanora Hundley or Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.

PechaKucha – presenting research in a fast and furious manner!

The Normal Labour and Birth Conference allowed me to experience a novel way of showcasing research and exchanging ideas – the PechaKucha. Pronounced “peh-chak-cha”, the PechaKucha session is made up of a series of short presentations. Presenters must use 20 slides, each of which must be displayed for exactly 20 seconds – no more, no less. The concept, conceived by two young architects (Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham) in Japan in 2003, is to enable individuals to exchange their ideas in a fast moving, concise and exciting format. Not one to ignore the call to try something new, I decided to undertake this challenge as a double act with my colleague Professor Helen Cheyne from the University of Stirling. We presented our team’s work on the media’s portrayal of labour and birth, which was also being displayed as a poster.

Research team includes Ann Luce, Marilyn Cash, Vanora Hundley, Helen Cheyne, Edwin van Teijlingen and Catherine Angell

The PechaKucha was quite an undertaking, as the slides move automatically and you cannot stop them moving on! However, it really focused the mind and helped us identify the key messages from our work. The session was very lively and the energy generated a lot of discussion that continued into the coffee break afterwards. As for the PechaKucha method, I’d say that it is definitely a useful tool for our community research meetings, and perhaps also for our doctoral students to use as they prepare for their vivas.

The conference was also an opportunity to catch up with colleagues from the International Early Labour Research Group. The group have been involved in producing a series of research papers featured in a special issue of Midwifery. We also discussed future research and opportunities for research collaboration.

How’s our Slovene?

BU’s Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health was well represented at a recent conference run by the Midwifery Association of Slovenia in Čateẑ.  Professor Vanora Hundley and Luisa Cescutti Butler were invited by the President Anita Prelec to speak to midwives, nurses and students at their bi-annual conference: Skrb Za Dravje Žensk In Otrok.

I was asked to speak on the issue of intervention in early labour, something that is causing concern in many European countries, and whether midwives should be encouraging women to stay at home for longer. I started my session with a tentative “Dober dan” (Good morning) – my pronunciation must have been acceptable as I received a round of applause! However, the rest of my presentation was thankfully in English. The presentation was well received and clearly generated a lot of interest with discussion continuing over lunch.

Luisa, a senior lecturer in midwifery, spoke about the examination of the newborn baby and who should be involved – the midwife or the doctor. This was a question that we had discussed the previous day at a round table event with key stakeholders in Slovenia. Her presentation also gave us the opportunity to ask midwives what they thought. Participants were asked to complete a short questionnaire before the presentation and a second brief questionnaire afterwards. We are looking forward to seeing their responses – although we will rely heavily on colleagues from the University of Ljubljana to translate them!

Funding for our Slovenian trip was through networking grants – an EUNF award for Vanora to discuss research collaboration and an ERASMUS Preparatory Visit award for Luisa to explore the possibility of a staff mobility exchange. We both achieved these aims (more on that in our next blog), but this additional opportunity was too good to miss.

BU research to feature in BJOG’s international Twitter Journal Club

A recent paper by Professor Vanora Hundley is receiving significant interest and is to feature in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology’s Twitter Journal Club. For the last two years the BJOG has provided questions and slide sets to help readers evaluate selected papers in their local Journal Club. However, the introduction of the new Twitter Journal Club allows readers across the world to engage in online critical review and discussion. In addition to the paper, participants are provided with a scenario, background to the clinical issue, helpful details about the paper and discussion points. Journal club members participate in the discussion via Twitter using a specified hashtag (#BlueJC).  The discussion session starts on 20 March 2013 at 17:00 GMT and is open to anyone to join. For further details see:

EUNF award enables research with the University of Ljubljana

An EU Networking Fund (EUNF) award made to Vanora Hundley will enable research collaboration between Bournemouth University and the University of Ljubljana. Established in 1918 the University of Ljubljana is the oldest and largest university in Slovenia.

University of LlubljanaThe EUNF award will enable Vanora to travel to Ljubljana to discuss research on the topic of intervention in childbirth; an issue that is challenging many high income countries. The University of Ljubljana has run a midwifery programme since 1996 and currently admits 30 students a year. Research is a core component of midwifery education, as it is in other European institutions including Bournemouth University. However, postgraduate research in midwifery is less common there and it is hoped that this collaboration can strengthen midwifery research in Slovenia.

Global Women’s (GLOW) Research Conference

The first Global Women’s (GLOW) Research Conference was held in Liverpool this week. The conference brought together 150 researchers and clinicians from across the globe to discuss women’s health in both low and high resource countries. Keynote speakers included France Donnay from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Beverly Winikoff from Gynuity Health Projects.

BU was well represented with poster presentations from Vanora Hundley, Professor of Midwifery, and Emma Pitchforth, Visiting Fellow.

Vanora’s presentation examined the Use of oral misoprostol to prevent postpartum haemorrhage in home birth settings in low resource countries; a topic that has been the subject of considerable controversy in recent weeks. Emma’s presentation looked at Evidence response mechanisms in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health in Asia and the Pacific.

One of the unique features of this conference was the mix of presentations. Presenters came from a variety of disciplines and alongside the well known international speakers were oral presentations from undergraduate students and early career researchers. This was a great opportunity to share experiences and build collaborations, and I would recommend that both staff and students look out for next year’s call for abstracts.

Health and Wellbeing Conference

The HSC Health & Wellbeing Community held a very successful conference on Wednesday 19th September. More than 50 members (two thirds of the community) attended and there was a mix of speakers, posters, and interactive stands.

Carol Bond opened the day by challenging the community to use social media for networking. The audience had fun playing with QR codes.  This was followed by a short presentation from Edwin van Teijlingen on the REF. He encouraged staff to update their details on BRIAN if they had not already done so.

Picture shows Kip Jones

Picture shows Kip Jones

Attendees then heard summaries from the four presenters of the stands – Carol Bond, Kip Jones, Les Todres and BUCRU. This was followed by the opportunity to visit each stand and engage in discussion.

The morning finished with an introduction to Public Engagement by Rebecca Edwards, who also demonstrated how to remain unflustered despite interruptions from both the technology and the fire alarm!


Picture shows Andrew Harding, Kirsty Stanley, and Heather Hartwell

Picture shows Andrew Harding, Kirsty Stanley, and Heather Hartwell


Poster presentations were viewed over lunch. A variety of fascinating topics were offered by Sue Barker, Liz Norton, Andy Harding, Jilly Ireland, Eleanor Jack, Denyse King, Sheetal Sharma, Caroline Ellis-Hill, Edwin van Teijlingen, Audrey Dixon, Osman Ahmed, Heather Hartwell, and Clare Taylor.




Picture shows Bethan Collins and Oscar

Picture shows Bethan Collins and Oscar


The afternoon was given to presentations from Bethan Collins, Sid Carter, Vanora Hundley, Sarah Hean, and Angela Turner-Wilson, Marilyn Cash.

This was a very full day but so valuable in facilitating networking and highlighting the range of interesting work being done by members within the community.


The International Early Labour Research Group

Early labour Group

Photo (L to R): Dr Helen Cheyne (University of Stirling), Dr Mechthild Gross (Hannover Medical School), Dr Mary-Ann Davey (La Trobe University), Professor Patti Janssen (University of British Columbia), Professor Helen Spiby (University of Nottingham), and Professor Vanora Hundley (Bournemouth University). Not shown Gillian Hanley (University of British Columbia).

Researchers from across the globe met in Stirling last week to discuss early labour research and to plan an international collaborative study. The meeting was the result of a successful Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) planning grant to bring together researchers from Canada, Australia, Germany, England and Scotland. We have met on a number of occasions in the last couple of years, but usually at a conference when time is limited, so it was a real luxury to have two full days to discuss early labour care and to plan a possible intervention for women in the latent phase of labour. Although we have all conducted studies in this area, developing a complex intervention for use in five countries raises many novel challenges. Discussion focused on the varying models of care and current guidelines – the NICE and KCND guidelines used in the UK were much appreciated by our international colleagues. We left the meeting invigorated, but also aware that there is much to do. The first step will be a special issue of Midwifery later this year dedicated to early labour and guest edited by two of the team.