Afifa Ashfaque

Profession: Nursery Nurse
Supervisor: Dr Susan Pawlby (Developmental Psychologist, MBU)
Project title: Mother and Infant interaction: Before & After Treatment

Why did you apply for a BRC/U research secondment?

I had been working in my current role for a number of years and was involved in some of the mother-infant interaction work. To develop this further and gain some research experience, I was encouraged and supported to apply for a secondment which would allow me to spend more time working on the research projects and developing my own skills. The BRC opportunity was ideal to support me in doing this within my working hours. I was awarded half of my contracted time dedicated to the research work over a three month period.

What did you achieve during this secondment?

During this secondment period, I was involved in making video clips of mother-infant interactions on the Mother and Baby Unit, an inpatient ward where mothers suffering from severe mental illness following childbirth can come with their babies. Using the CARE-Index method I coded the interactions between the mothers and babies on admission and discharge over the period 2013-14. The CARE-Index is a rigorous and specialised method for assessing mother-infant interactions. I was successfully able to complete the current year’s coding and was then involved in analysing the data to identify how effective the treatment for patients in our service was, based on their mother-infant relationship. As a result of the secondment, I have become more confident and experienced in my skills for coding interactions using the CARE-index method; recruiting participants; data collection; managing large data bases and using statistical analyses. This has been an extremely valuable experience for me. I hope to continue being involved in the research work in my current role, following on from the secondment. The BRC also offered teaching sessions which I found very helpful. I particularly enjoyed the seminar on ‘Digital Professionalism’ which was very informative.

What would you say to other people thinking of applying?

Securing a secondment from BRC has been a great opportunity for me as, without it, I would not have had the time to be involved in research. I have gained skills which I know will be instrumental in furthering my professional development. I feel anyone interested, regardless of their clinical role, should most definitely apply and take advantage of such great support offered.