Research Profile

Elizabeth O'Connell

Biography

I am currently working as Parkinson's Disease Research Nurse Specialist based in Neurology Department in Cork University Hospital. My role is to develop and evaluate a nurse led service for individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease attending the neurology department at Cork University Hospital. I previously spent 2 years as CNM2 with Cheshire Ireland where I led an integrated team providing care to individuals living with neurodegenerative disease. Prior to this  I was a Lecturer  Practitioner at the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery in  University College Cork (UCC) for 6 years. I taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the areas of respiratory nursing, neurosciences nursing and critical care nursing and  was actively involved in clinical practice in the acute neurosurgical unit in Cork University Hospital.  I also developed a new module on Physical Assessment Skills for nurses and I co-ordinated the clinical component of the Nurse Prescribing Program offered at UCC.
My clinical background is in Intensive Care Nursing and I hold a Higher Diploma in Critical Care Nursing, MSc Nursing from UCC and a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. I am currently undertaking  a Doctorate in Nursing Practice at UCC. I have published  in the areas of critical care nursing, haematological nursing, nurse prescribing , stroke and have also evaluated the role of the Lecturer Practitioner in Irish Nurse Education. I am currently involved in research on Parkinson's Disease.

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Research Interests

I am presently at an early stage in my research career and studies to date have been investigating questions arising from my clinical practice or have been related to areas which I am involved in teaching. I have used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in my research as I endeavour to gain experience and expertise.

 Research outputs to date are as follows:

Masters Thesis: The Importance of Critical Care Nurses Caring Behaviours as perceived by Nurses and Relatives.

The aim of this study was to compare the perceptions of nurses and relatives of critically ill patients on the importance of the caring behaviours of critical care nurses.
Background: The concept of caring is central to the nature of nursing with many approaches to defining it and describing it in the nursing literature. Caring in critical care nursing involves affective, cognitive and action processes. It is the action processes or caring behaviours that are most evident to nurses, patients and relatives.
Method: This descriptive, comparative, quantitative study which was conducted in an Irish critical care setting. Convenience sampling was used to recruit n=40 nurses and n=30 relatives of critically ill patients. Data was collected over a three week period in 2006 using an adapted version of the Caring Behaviours Assessment Tool. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.
Findings: There was congruence between nurses and relatives on the most and least important caring behaviours of critical care nurses. Both groups placed a higher value on caring behaviours which demonstrate technical competence and the altruistic and emotional aspects of caring.
Conclusion: The results of this study have demonstrated that there are more similarities than differences between the perceptions of nurses and relatives on the importance of the caring behaviours of critical care nurses. The results of this study will give critical care nurses a greater understanding of how their caring behaviours are perceived by others. Incorporating the views of relatives into the delivery of care in the context of critical care will allow nurses to create a patient-centered service.

An Evaluation of the role of the Lecturer Practitioner.

As one of the first 7 Lecturer Practitioners appointed to Irish Schools of Nursing I led this evaluation of the role. The challenging role of a Lecturer Practitioner transcends both the theoretical and clinical aspects of nurse education with post holders involved in both teaching in the university and active participation in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the Lecturer Practitioner on knowledge development, skills development, professional development and practice development in the clinical areas. The study also examined the scope of the LPs role when engaged in clinical practice.
The results of the study demonstrated that the Lecturer Practitioner role was having a very positive impact on all the areas identified above. A report was completed and presented to the Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC and to the Directors of Nursing of the hospitals where Lecturer/Practitioners are engaged in practice.

Hereditary Haemochromatosis: The Lived Experience

Background
Hereditary Haemochromatosis (HH) is one of the most common hereditary disorders (British Haemochromatosis Society, 2008) resulting in excessive intestinal iron absorption, which is then stored in the liver, pancreas, heart and joints resulting in organ damage and impaired function (Adams & Barton, 2007). Recent surveys have shown that the risk of hereditary haemochromatosis amongst people of Northern European origin is 1 in 400. However, little is known about the experiences, needs and expertise of those living with this disorder.
Aim:
To explore the experiences of patients living with HH.
Methodology:
A descriptive, qualitative approach was used to conduct this study. Purposive sampling led to the recruitment of 13 participants who were attending a clinic for venesection in a large teaching hospital. Data were collected using in depth interviews and were analysed using Colaizzi's Framework.
Results:
The main themes emerging from the data was that of stoic acceptance of a lifelong condition, the search for information about this condition, along with the challenge of managing symptoms and complying with treatment regimes.
Discussion:
Patients had very little knowledge about this disease and their need for clear concise information was asserted. In particular, patients identified their need for specific dietary guidelines and education about symptom management. Venesection was identified as a frightening experience for many patients.
Implications for Practice:
There needs to be increased awareness of HH among healthcare professionals and the general public. Standardised information needs to be made available to patients on diagnosis and throughout the course of the illness. Treatment and the importance of life long compliance in preventing complications needs to be explained. Venesection should be performed by highly skilled and experienced personnel. Members of the multidisciplinary team need to embrace a supportive, patient centred approach to all aspects of patient care.

Recognition of stroke symptoms and stroke survivors reasons for delay in seeking medical treatment.  
Abstract

Background:Stroke remains a leading cause of death and disability and patient outcomes are dependant on early access to emergency treatment. However, despite public education campaigns many patients and carers fail to recognise the symptoms of stroke and often delay accessing medical services. 

 

 

Aim:This paper reports on first time stroke patients description of  their symptoms and the course of events which lead them to seeking medical treatment. 



 

 

Methodolgy:Secondary data analysis was conducted on transcripts (n=10) exploring patient perceptions of their stroke experience. 



 

 

Results:The majority of participants delayed between 4 and 16 hours before seeking medical assistance. Limb weakness was the symptom most easily recognised by the participants as that of a stroke. Only four of the ten participants immediately recognised the symptoms that they were experiencing were that of a stroke. Six participants¿ did not attribute the symptoms they were experiencing as that of a stroke. When symptoms were recognised either by the patient or a family member, participants sought medical treatment.

 

Conclusion:Findings reported the majority of participants could not identify stroke warning signs. Furthermore the participants descriptions of the event is conveyed in a language different to that used in various awareness campaigns. Further research is needed to explore the language used in stroke awareness campaigns and the language used by patients themselves interpretating their symptoms.

 

 

 

A Stroke of Success : exploring public knowledge of the warning signs of stroke prior to a nationwide education campaign



 

 

Abstract:



 

Background:

Early recognition of stroke symptoms and warning signs is necessary to ensure acute hospital services are accessed rapidly. The Irish Heart Foundation launched a national stroke awareness campaign in May 2010 to educate the public on the warning signs of stroke so that when a stroke occurs individuals can act F.A.S.T. The campaign applies the acronym F.A.S.T. to educate the public on the focal signs of a stroke. Previous research investigating the effectiveness of public stroke awareness campaigns have shown mixed results. Differences may be attributed to the use of closed ended questions which are inclined to report greater levels of knowledge than those using open ended questions. 
Study aim: 
To explore the public¿s knowledge of the warning signs of stroke prior to a nationwide media stroke campaign.  
Method 
Prior to the launch of the FAST campaign in Ireland, we conducted a survey to explore the public awareness of the warning signs of stroke. Data collection involved completion of an electronic questionnaire or a face to face interview by willing participants. Over 2,000 participants completed the survey which included both closed ended and open ended questions.  
Results 
Preliminary results highlight that the majority of participants identified the following stroke signs; sudden weakness or numbness in the face arm or leg especially on one side of the body, dizziness or loss of balance and difficulty speaking. Less recognizable symptoms were trouble seeing in one or both eyes and headache. The majority of participants reported that they would contact their General Practitioner rather than contact the Emergency Services if they experienced stroke symptoms.  
Conclusion 

There is a knowledge deficit among the general public about the early warning signs of stroke. Results of this study suggest that partcipiants would procrastinate in seeking emergency medical treament. Thrombolysis is time dependent and the message of prompt admission to hospital is crucial to prevent the devastating effects of stroke and optimise patient outcomes. Education campaigns such as the FAST campaign can only serve to increase public knowledge of the early warning signs of stroke.

 







 



 

Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2009)'The effectiveness of the lecturer practitioner role in clinical practice: An Irish Perspective'
Noonan, B., Hughes, M., Hayes, C., Hartigan, I.,O' Connell, L.,Cummins, A.,Fehin, P.; (2009) 'The effectiveness of the lecturer practitioner role in clinical practice: An Irish Perspective'. Nurse Education Today, 29 (5):561-565 [Details]
(2009)'Hereditary Haemochromatosis:patient support and education'
Sheahan, O. O' Connell, E.; (2009) 'Hereditary Haemochromatosis:patient support and education'. Nursing Standard, 24 (3):49-56 [Details]
(2009)'Introducing Nurse Prescribing: an Irish perspective'
Creedon, R., O' Connell, E.; (2009) 'Introducing Nurse Prescribing: an Irish perspective'. Nurse Prescribing, 7 (11):458-462 [Details]
(2009)'An Evaluation of Nurse Prescribing Part 2: a literature review'
O' Connell, E., Creedon, R.,McCarthy, G.'Lehane, B.; (2009) 'An Evaluation of Nurse Prescribing Part 2: a literature review'. British Journal of Nursing, 18 (22):1398-1402 [Details]
(2009)'An Evaluation of Nurse Prescribing. Part 1: a literature review'
Creedon, R., O' Connell, E., McCarthy, G., Lehane, B.; (2009) 'An Evaluation of Nurse Prescribing. Part 1: a literature review'. British Journal of Nursing, 18 (21):1322-1327 [Details]
(2009)'An Evaluation of Lecturer Practitioners In Ireland'
Hartigan, I, Cummins, A, O'Connell, E, Hughes, M, Hayes, CC, Noonan, B, Fehin, P; (2009) 'An Evaluation of Lecturer Practitioners In Ireland'. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 15 (4):280-286 [DOI] [Details]
(2008)'The importance of critical care nurses' caring behaviours as perceived by nurses and relatives. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing'
O'Connell, Elizabeth,Landers, Margaret; (2008) 'The importance of critical care nurses' caring behaviours as perceived by nurses and relatives. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing'. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 24 (6):349-358   [Details]
(2008)'Therapeutic Relationships in Critical Care Nursing: a reflection on practice'
O'Connell E. ; (2008) 'Therapeutic Relationships in Critical Care Nursing: a reflection on practice'. Nursing in Critical Care, 13 (3):138-143 [Details]

Other Journals

 YearPublication
(2010)'Respiratory Assessment for Theatre Nurses: A Systematic Approach'
O Connell, E; Noonan, B; (2010) 'Respiratory Assessment for Theatre Nurses: A Systematic Approach' Irish Journal of Anaesthetic and Recovery Nursing, 5 (2) :20-23. [Details]

Conference Publications

 YearPublication
(2010)Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 13th Scientific Conference
O' Connell, E; Hartigan, I; (2010) Recognition of Symptoms of Stroke; an exploration of patient experiences Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 13th Scientific Conference [Details]
(2010)Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 14th Scientific Conference
O' Connell, E., Hartigan, I., O' Sullivan, B., O' Brien, S. and Ryan A.; (2010) A Stroke of Success: Public Knowledge of the Symptoms of Stroke Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 14th Scientific Conference [Details]
(2010)Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 13th Scientific Conference
Hartigan, I; O' Connell, E; McCarthy, G; O' Mahony, D; (2010) Stroke survivors perceptions of their healh status and their goals for recovery Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association 13th Scientific Conference [Details]
(2009)Catherine McAuley School of Nursing 9th Annual Research Conference
O' Connell, E; Hartigan, I; McCarthy, G; O' Mahoney; (2009) First time stroke survivors perceptions of health and goals for recovery Catherine McAuley School of Nursing 9th Annual Research Conference [Details]
(2009)28th International Research Conference, RCSI, Dublin
Sheahan, O, O' Connell, E; (2009) Living with Hereditary Haemochromatosis: the patient's perspective 28th International Research Conference, RCSI, Dublin [Details]
(2009)Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Societys (RTRS) 5th Annual Conference
Hartigan I, O'Connell L.; (2009) Stroke survivors personal morbidity - a study exploring patients perceptions of their health status post stroke Rehabilitation and Therapy Research Societys (RTRS) 5th Annual Conference [Details]
(2008)9th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference Trinity College Dublin
O'Connell, L. Hartigan, I. Cummins, A. Noonan, B. Hayes,C. & Fehin,P.; (2008) An Evaluation of the Lecturer Practitioner Role 9th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference Trinity College Dublin TCD: Dublin, , 01-JAN-08 [Details]
(2008)7th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference Cork
O'Connell E., Hartigan I., Cummins A., Hughes M., Hayes C., Noonan B.,Fehin P.; (2008) An Evaluation of the Role Lecturer Practitioner role 7th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference Cork Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork, [Details]
(2008)Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference Liverpool
Hartigan, I. O'Connell, E. Hughes, M. Hayes, C. Cummins, A. Noonan, B. Fehin, P.; (2008) An Evaluation of the Lecturer Practitioner Role Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference Liverpool RCN: Liverpool, , 01-JAN-08 [Details]
(2008)27th International Nursing & Midwifery Research Conference, Royal College of Surgeons
O'Connell, E., Hartigan, I. Hughes, M. Hayes, C. Cummins, A. Noonan, B. & Fehin P.; (2008) An Evaluation of the Lecturer Practitioner Role 27th International Nursing & Midwifery Research Conference, Royal College of Surgeons RCSI: Dublin, , 01-JAN-08 [Details]
(2008)2nd UCC / Cork University Teaching Hospitals Health Research Day
Hartigan, I. O'Connell, E. Hughes, M. Hayes, C. Cummins, A. Noonan, B. & Fehin, P; (2008) An Evaluation of the Lecturer Practitioner Role 2nd UCC / Cork University Teaching Hospitals Health Research Day UCC: Cork, , 01-JAN-08 [Details]

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2008)RCN Annual International Research Conference,
Hartigan, I., O' Connell, E. ; (2008) An evaluation of the role of the Lecturer Practitioner. [Poster Presentation], RCN Annual International Research Conference, RCN:UK , 01-JAN-08 - 01-JAN-08. [Details]
(2008)UCC/Cork Teaching Hospitals Health Research Day,
O¿Connell E. et al.; (2008) An Evaluation of the role of the Lecturer Practitioner. [Oral Presentation], UCC/Cork Teaching Hospitals Health Research Day, College of Medicine and Health, UCC: Cork , 06-JUN-08 - 06-JUN-08. [Details]
(2008)Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 8th annual research conference,
O'Connell, E.; (2008) An evaluation of the role of the Lecturer Practitioner. [Oral Presentation], Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 8th annual research conference, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery: Cork , 10-OCT-08 - 10-OCT-08. [Details]
(2008)7th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference,
O'Connell E., Hartigan I., Cummins A., Hughes M., Hayes C., Noonan B.,Fehin P.; (2008) An Evaluation of the Role Lecturer Practitioner role. [Oral Presentation], 7th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, University College Cork , 01-JAN-08 - 01-JAN-08. [Details]
(2008)RCSI 27th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference,
O' Connell, E. ; (2008) An evaluation of the role of the Lecturer Practitioner. [Oral Presentation], RCSI 27th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference, RCSI: Dublin , 20-FEB-08 - 21-FEB-08. [Details]
(2008)Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 8th annual research conference,
Sheahan, O. and O¿ Connell, E.; (2008) Living with Hereditary Haemochromatosis. [Poster Presentation], Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 8th annual research conference, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery: Cork , 01-JAN-08 - 01-JAN-08. [Details]
(2007)RCSI 26th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference,
O¿ Connell E.; (2007) The importance of critical care nurses caring behaviours as perceived by nurses and relatives. [Oral Presentation], RCSI 26th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference, RCSI: Dublin , 20-FEB-07 - 22-FEB-07. [Details]
(2007)RCN International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference,
O¿ Connell, E.; (2007) The importance of critical care nurses caring behaviours as perceived by nurses and relatives. [Poster Presentation], RCN International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference, RCN: U.K , 01-MAY-07 - 04-MAY-07. [Details]
(2006)6th Annual Research Conference Catherine McAuley Schoool of Nursing,
O'Connell, E.; (2006) The Importance of Critical Care Nurses’ Caring Behaviours as perceived by Nurses and Relatives. [Poster Presentation], 6th Annual Research Conference Catherine McAuley Schoool of Nursing, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork , 22-SEP-06 - 22-SEP-06. [Details]
(2006)Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 6th annual research conference,
O¿ Connell, E. ; (2006) The importance of critical care nurses caring behaviours as perceived by nurses and relatives. [Poster Presentation], Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery 6th annual research conference, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery: Cork , 01-JAN-06 - 01-JAN-06. [Details]
(2005)5th Annual National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery Conference,
O'Connell, E.; (2005) Research utilisation in Intensive Care Nursing: The Role of a Journal Club. [Poster Presentation], 5th Annual National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery Conference, Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 , 16-NOV-05 - 17-NOV-05. [Details]

Presentation

 YearPublication
(2008)Poster Presentation - Royal College of Nursing Research Conference.
O'Connell E., Hartigan I., Cummins A., Hughes M., Hayes C., Noonan B.,Fehin P.; (2008) Poster Presentation - Royal College of Nursing Research Conference. Presentation [Details]

Thesis/Dissertation

 YearPublication
(2006)The Importance of Critical Care Nurses Caring Behaviours as perceived by Nurses and Relatives.
O'Connell, E.; (2006) The Importance of Critical Care Nurses Caring Behaviours as perceived by Nurses and Relatives. Thesis/Dissertation [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2006First Prize for Poster Presentation at the Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC Lecturer/Practitioner01-NOV-06 / 11-JUN-10
Cork University Hospital Clinical Facilitator for Critical Care Nursing01-APR-06 / 01-NOV-06
General Intensive Care Unit, Cork University Hospital Staff Nurse01-JAN-01 / 01-APR-06
St. Lukes , Cork Care Co-ordinator01-JAN-00 / 01-JAN-01

Education

 YearInstituionQualificationSubject
2004UCC Postgraduate DiplomaCardiac and Intensive Care Nursing
2006UCC MScNursing Studies

Other Activities

 Description

Invited Research Talk: Neurological Assessment. At: General Intensive Care Unit Cork University Hospital, 20/02/2007.

Invited Research Talk: Management of the patient with raised intracranial pressure. At: Neurological Study Day Cork University Hospital, 8/01/2007.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

Physical Assessment for Nursing Practice
Neurosurgical/Neuromedical Nursing
Haematological Disorders
Respiratory Disorders
Cardiothoracic Nursing
Critical Care Nursing
Supervision of undergraduate research students

Contact details

  • Elizabeth O'Connell
    Parkinsons Disease Research Nurse Specialist
  • loconnell@ucc.ie
  • Medical School
    Neurology Department
    Cork University Hospital
  • 353879055357

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, Ireland T23 N73K

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