specialist nurse claire marshall

NHS nurse boosts University's research to help pregnant women and new mums

A local nurse from the East Riding will contribute to high-calibre research at the University of Hull to ensure pregnant women and new mums get the best possible care when it comes to their mental health.

Claire Marshall, Specialist Nurse and Clinical Lead with the Perinatal Mental Health Liaison Team at Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust, has been selected for a prestigious national programme for research and development.

Claire will further develop her expertise in the mental wellbeing of pregnant women and new mums as part of the Health Education England (HEE) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme.

  • 10-20% of women are affected by perinatal mental health conditions – the mental health problems that arise during pregnancy and up to one year after childbirth.
  •  These ‘perinatal’ mental health conditions, which include depression, tokophobia (an extreme and pathological fear of childbirth), postpartum psychosis, bipolar and anxiety disorders, require more specific treatment than that offered by general mental health services.
  • Mental wellbeing for new mothers is crucial – negative experiences can impact on their children and their children’s children.

The research programme, which provides personal training awards for healthcare professionals, aims to develop careers by combining clinical research and leadership with continued practice and development.

This is a prestigious and exciting opportunity, and Claire was delighted to start her pre-doctoral clinical academic fellowship last month at the University within Maternal and Reproductive Health.

The programme is supported by eminent academics Prof Julie Jomeen, Professor Colin Martin, and Professor Tom Phillips at the University of Hull.

Only 40 of the 146 clinicians that applied nationally were accepted to the programme.

Claire said:

“I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to develop my research skills and work with Prof Jomeen and the faculty on critical research work in the field of perinatal mental health.  I’ve got many challenges ahead and lots to do and learn, but with the excellent support from the University and the support of my wonderful colleagues in the Perinatal Mental Health Team, I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years.”

"The University is committed to playing a major role in improving the health of the people of our region and beyond. The role of these fellowships in supporting that aspiration and promoting connectivity between practice and research is so valuable." Professor Julie Jomeen, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull

Professor Julie Jomeen, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull, said:

“The University is committed to playing a major role in improving the health of the people of our region and beyond. The role of these fellowships in supporting that aspiration and promoting connectivity between practice and research is so valuable. I am delighted that Clare has joined us. Her knowledge of clinical practice will be extremely valuable in contributing to research that will drive change to ensure pregnant women and new mums get the highest standards of healthcare when it comes to their mental health.”

Claire will continue to work as Clinical Lead within the Perinatal Mental Health Liaison Team for the Trust two days a week whilst taking up the NIHR fellowship.

Speaking about Claire’s achievement, Cathryn Hart, Assistant Director Research & Development for the Trust, said:

“We are delighted for Claire to have taken the next step in her career. She has done brilliantly to get so far and be successful in her application, we’re really pleased for her.”

Claire’s research post is yet another positive collaboration between the Trust and the University of Hull, a partnership solidified earlier this year with Humber adding ‘teaching’ to its name, demonstrating the Trust’s ongoing commitment to learning.  

The strong partnership between the Trust and the University has already resulted in improvements to healthcare provision for pregnant women and new mums in the region.

The work of The Trust’s perinatal mental health service, which supports women in Hull and East Yorkshire who have antenatal and post-natal mental health problems, was recognised by a prestigious British Journal of Midwifery Practice Award in February this year.

Claire and her colleagues won the award for their commitment to resolving everyday challenges in perinatal mental health, such as poor attendance and the need to improve prediction, diagnosis and referral rates. Working with the University of Hull, the team used the results of University research into women’s perinatal psychological wellbeing to improve outcomes for patients.

The collaborative and successful working relationship that the Hull and East Yorkshire Perinatal Mental Health Liaison Service has enjoyed with the University of Hull over the last 10 years has been key to service development and driving fundamental change in specialist perinatal mental illness (PMI) health care provision and management, thereby promoting optimal outcomes for mothers, their babies, partners, families and wider society.

Members of the team have worked with the University and other partners to deliver high-quality, funded clinical practice and service development projects and their efforts have earned them a local, regional, national and international reputation for research and strategy.

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