On Wednesday 16th September, members of SUGAR and staff met up at Euston station for the journey up to Manchester’s Pendulum Hotel for the 21st Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference. In all, 11 SUGAR members attended the conference along with several members of staff from City, some of whom were also presenting at the conference.
The SUGAR workshop this year was Dragons’ Den themed, as seen on TV! Researchers who had an idea for a project would ‘pitch’ that idea to five Dragons (members of SUGAR), and a winner would be chosen based on the research idea and how well they’d thought about the involvement of service users and carers, the potential to improve care, and ethical considerations. The winner would be invited to meet the SUGAR group and would receive ongoing support and advice throughout the duration of their project.
The three researchers who were brave enough to enter the SUGAR Dragons’ Den were Laoise Renwick, Jason Hickey and Cher Hallett.
The SUGAR Dragons judged that Cher’s research idea had all the ingredients required to make her project idea the winner. Cher, who is a newly qualified mental health nurse, had the idea of a research project to evaluate current practice in the administration of medication via intra-muscular (depot) injections. Cher felt passionate about this subject having witnessed the disparity between best practice, which she had been taught on her course, and the reality of the practice she was seeing in clinical settings. She also voiced concerns about the lack of evidence from service user and carer perspectives regarding how they experienced the injections, given the widespread use of depot injections in mental health care, and the importance of maintaining service users’ dignity during treatment.
If you’d like to read more about the conference, Dr Ben Hannigan, one of the organisers of NPNR 2015 wrote an excellent summary on his blog. There’s also a piece about the wider impact of City University London’s Centre for Mental Health Research staff at the conference on the City website, which you can read here. East London NHS Foundation Trust have also featured SUGAR at NPNR in their latest Research & Development (R&D) newsletter (see page 5).