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Queens University
Queens University Belfast Studentship: Taking Medicines at Home: Exploring medication use as a socially embedded phenomenon.
This project is part of a doctoral training programme (MED-AGE) which will fund four studentships supported by the Dunhill Medical Trust. The interdisciplinary research conducted under this programme will further understanding of the importance of medicines in the lives of older people. The successful candidate will be a member of the cohort of Dunhill students funded under this programme and will be exposed to outstanding training and development opportunities. Medication usage does not occur in isolation. Conversely, older adults navigate a complex set of social networks and relationships with doctors, pharmacists, spouses and carers as well as friends and adult offspring in the practice of maintaining good health. As such, medication use has been described as a socially embedded phenomenon which, in most cases, happens in private, at home (Ross and Gillett, 2021). This PhD project will contribute to an important growing body of qualitative research which examines how older adults negotiate their use of prescription drugs (Hawkins, Nickman and Ross, 2017). The ethos of this PhD project emerges from Estes (1979) classic sociology of ageing which argued that older adults’ lives are shaped by the medical industrial complex - a system which prioritises pharmaceutical over social interventions. Nevertheless, medicines are in large part responsible for extended life expectancy. We need to gain a better understanding of medicine use as a daily aspect of the social structure of later life. So, the project has two key objectives. 1) To focus on the home as socially networked site of kinship and family dynamics which frames medication usage, and 2) To employ emancipatory research methods to investigate the potential for older adults to use medication in ways that optimise their health. The student who takes on this project will have a strong interest in working with older people in a manner which helps participants to articulate their own views. They will have knowledge of social science research methods and a willingness to work across disciplines. They will use qualitative research methods including in-depth interviews in a way which will empower and inform older people about their medication use. Part of this approach will involve finding out how the views of older people can be better communicated to doctors and pharmacists. There is a wealth of research demonstrating that patients who feel supported and empowered in their healthcare decision-making have better health outcomes. So, understanding and communicating older adult’s lived experience of taking medicine at home could be a significant step forward for doctors and their patients navigation of complex pharmaceutical regimes.
Location: Belfast
Deadline: 11 March 2024
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Social Sciences, Psychology, or a closely related discipline. Students who have a 2.2 honours degree and a Master’s degree may also be considered, but the University reserves the right to shortlist for interview only those applicants who have demonstrated high academic attainment to date.
How to Apply Applicants must include a personal statement (1 page max) in which they should describe their interest, experience, and commitment to ageing research. You should attach this when prompted to upload a proposal.
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