"The research I undertake in collaboration with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is to examine the reasons why patients do not attend cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialised secondary prevention program for patients with cardiovascular disease. It is a type 1 recommendation by NICE but only approximately 50% of patients who are eligible attend. A Cochrane review found that cardiac rehabilitation reduces cardiac mortality and future morbidity.
"The project examines previous collected cardiac rehabilitation audit data and identifies characteristics associated with low attendance. The characteristics could be patient level factors such as age, gender and ethnicity. The characteristics could be service level factors such as who referred the patient, the amount of time from invitation to joining date.
"A unique aspect of my project is merging the Welsh Indices of Multiple Deprivation (WMD) with the audit data to examine the relationship between deprivation and cardiac rehabilitation attendance. The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) is the Welsh Government’s official measure of relative deprivation for small areas in Wales. It identifies areas with the highest concentrations of several different types of deprivation.
"Doing postgraduate research is difficult because you are exploring uncharted territory. There is no textbook to revise and the answers aren’t simple. Luckily I have supportive supervisor team at USW who have helped me when I get lost. It has been challenging conducting research in a pandemic, I have had to scrap research projects such as focus groups and interviews. However, with support I have been able to re-create my project so it is safer for patients and myself. Conducting a meta-synthesise of previous qualitative research papers, to supplement the loss of primary qualitative data.
"I have been given a lot of opportunities to improve my skillset whilst studying at USW. Sponsorship from KESS has allowed me to undertake training in a variety of field including qualitative research training (e.g. conducting focus groups, interviews and analysing the data in Nvivo) and quantitative research (e.g. regression modelling in R and SPSS). The skills learnt in these different disciplines will allow me to apply to a multitude of jobs within different areas of research.
"I have also been given the opportunity to visit conferences across the UK from Glasgow to Belfast. The conferences allowed me to disseminate my findings to wider research community. Attending conferences means you can stay up-to-date with the latest research and network with other researchers."