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Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education: PhD Studentship: Narrative of Pain - The Veteran's Voice

  • Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

Profile Description

Closing Date - 25 February 2018

The Veterans and Families Institute (VFI) welcome applications from high-calibre candidates for a PhD studentship. This will be jointly supervised by Dr Hilary Engward and Professor Patricia Schofield (Professor of Nursing). This is a PhD studentship for which applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates from a range of backgrounds spanning from social science and health related disciplines. This is a unique opportunity to study narratives of pain in veterans with limb loss, and you'll join an existing successful team of researchers in the military, veteran and family fields. You'll be embedded within, and benefit from dialogue with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in the Veterans and Families Institute, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, who are conducting internationally leading research into military, veteran and family well-being, and the successful applicant will be required to contribute to the wider work in the VFI team.

Research Area

The purpose of this PhD will explore narratives of pain in veterans. The need for this research is informed by the VFI/Blesma study ‘Living with Limb Loss: The Family Perspective' study, from which living with pain was a consistent finding. Of particular interest is a cultural military legacy, through which the experience of pain was perceived to be a weakness by the veteran, from which lived experiences of pain as felt by the veteran was not wholly disclosed to their family and/or health professionals, resulting in pain being not be adequately controlled, a factor contributing to family stress and lower levels of coping and independent living with limb loss. This research will therefore specifically explore the veteran experience of living with pain, the specific cognitive-emotional attitudes expressed by veterans, and if/how knowledge and values within a culture (such as the military) might shape the individuals lived experience of pain, how they manage their pain, and how the family experiences the veteran's pain.

Research Plan

This research will explore narratives of pain (physical, neurological or PTSD in origin) of veterans. The narrative approach, like pain, takes on features of postmodern illness where a culture, such as the military, informs the experience of, and understandings of, pain, some of which may have an enduring legacy. Using narrative, the individual is prioritised over biological explanations of pain, and values the individual story as a means of explaining and making sense of the lived experience. As such, this research seeks to widen understanding of the experience of pain in military veterans, a discourse that as yet, has received scant attention. Using unstructured interviews with military veterans who report experiencing pain, you'll collect data, analyse and report findings, culminating in a written thesis, with associated publications of the findings. As key components, the student will produce a detailed analysis of narratives of pain within the cultural military/veteran context, and the thesis will be formulated to inform future policy and provision of services for veterans living with pain.

We value diversity at Anglia Ruskin University and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Funding Notes

A minimum of a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) in a social science or health related subject is required. A master’s-level degree would be an advantage. The studentship will be based on the Chelmsford campus of Anglia Ruskin University, and you’ll be expected to travel between Anglia Ruskin campuses when needed, and to collect data from veterans across the UK, therefore a full driving licence will be beneficial. The studentship will cover three years of Home-EU tuition fees and provide a 3 year, tax-free stipend at the FHSCE rate.

For further details, please contact Dr Hilary Engward:

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