Brynja Ingadóttir is a lecturer in nursing at the University of Iceland and pioneer in the area of educating people in need to healthcare services. She has developed computer games to use in patient education, for children and adults alike, and is very excited about this innovation.
Her research has mostly focused on patient education, particularly cardiac patients and patients recovering from surgery. Education is key to increasing the chances of recovery and to improve the wellbeing of patients during the recovery process and in the long term.
"I have been looking at patients' expectations of education," says Brynja, "and how those expectations have been met, their knowledge of their condition and much more. I am really interested in developing patient education, by testing diverse teaching methods but also by researching the skills of healthcare professionals in this vital part of the job and exploring how they can be supported to improve these skills."
"This is a group suffering emotional problems related to body image, problems with lack of sensitivity to heat, reduced ability to work, loneliness and isolation." In this new study, Brynja Ingadóttir and her colleagues are researching the long-term consequences of burn injuries. IMAGE / Kristinn Ingvarsson
Long-term impact of burns
The new study which Brynja is now conducting, along with a team of colleagues, focuses on the long-term impact of burns. A questionnaire was sent to all individuals who have been admitted to Landspítali University Hospital with a burn injury in the past 16 years. As part of the preparation stage, foreign evaluation tools were translated and localised.
"This is the first research in Iceland looking at burn patients and will provide important information which we can use to develop healthcare services for this group, not least follow-up after discharge," says Brynja.
She adds that the research can therefore benefit healthcare professionals both in health clinics and hospitals. "We also now have an evaluation tool that can be used to follow-up on the wellbeing of burn patients. The research also became the subject of the theses of one Master's student and a BS nursing student. Research can spark students' interest in a subject and they take part in sharing the results with people involved with the issue, in this case clinical healthcare professionals."
Inspiration came from clinical work
Insipiration from clincial nursing
Brynja says that the inspiration for this study came from clinical nursing, as has often been the case. In this instance, Lovísa Baldursdóttir, nursing specialist at Landspítali University Hospital, identified the need. "She took the initiative of researching this subject, because there was no formal follow-up for burn patients in Iceland after they were discharged. We don't know anything about their outcomes or their long-term wellbeing. However, foreign research suggests that burn injuries can have serious psychological, social and physical consequences."
Brynja has worked at Landspítali University Hospital for 30 years and believes that it is very important to research issues that matter for clinical hospital work and nursing. "Lovísa and I have worked together for a long time and this was a perfect opportunity to team up and research this important subject. We were then joined by Sigríður Zoëga, nursing specialist, who is helping us with processing and interpreting the data."
The team are currently working through the data. Although the response rate was not as high as they had hoped, the team nevertheless have results that demonstrate that although the majority of participants believe the long-term impact of the burn to be relatively minor, there is a group of people struggling with serious consequences.