UL GEMS Research wins HSE Open Acess Award

Professor Colum Dunne, Director of Research at the University of Limerick’s Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS), has been presented with one of the Irish Health Services Executive (HSE) Inaugural Open Access Awards by HSE Director General, Mr Tony O’Brien.

The award recognises research completed by GEMS researchers Shane Knox (PhD candidate in GEMS) and his supervisor, Prof Dunne, who commented: “Topical in the context of recent reports regarding the Irish Ambulance Service and the capabilities of paramedics, our work describes topics that professional pre-hospital health care providers have identified as being important to them in maintaining competence and how, as mature learners, they wish to have continuous professional development delivered for them. The research will have a practical impact by informing the development of new CPC guidelines for Irish paramedics."

Speaking at the awards Mr O’Brien paid tribute to the work of researchers in the health services, saying “Research has an important role to play in contributing to the ongoing development of our health services and to the development of professional practice. As has been highlighted by this award, the research-practice gap is being narrowed, and successfully bridged in many cases. I would like to thank all those who submitted their research for their hard work, dedication and professionalism.”

The HSE awards have been established to recognise the efforts of healthcare professionals and those working in the health care system, who are engaged in research. In 2013, the HSE published a statement on open access publishing in line with the Government’s endorsement of a national statement on open access publishing.

The winning UL work was completed at the Centre for Interventions in Infection, Inflammation & Immunity that brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers focused on developing studies that impact health outcomes.

The winning paper, Continuous Professional Competence (CPC) for Irish paramedics and advanced paramedics: a national study can be accessed here: CPC for Paramedics study

These hormones help to regulate our immune and cardiovascular systems, as well as how we feel during times of stress. By looking at these physiological measures, researchers will have a direct way of seeing how experiences of this stress affects our health.

“This research is important for several reasons; it will allow us to see the way stress gets inside the body; see who copes better with stress, employed or unemployed, or in different ways, and provide information as to what type of service or intervention is needed to help people deal with stress,” Dr Sumner told the Limerick Post.

The UL research team are now seeking 90 employed people, 45 on permanent contract and 45 on non-permanent contract, for their study, which will be funded by the Irish Research Council. They also want to hear from 90 unemployed people, 45 short-term and 45 long-term unemployed, to complete a survey about lifestyle, stress and mood.

“It will take about 20 minutes. Participants will have to provide a couple of saliva samples so that we can measure their stress hormones. We’re offering participants that complete all parts of the study a €10 All-for-one voucher as a small thank you for taking part as well,” Dr Sumner revealed.

More details are available from www.sashlab.com.