Professor in Nursing recognised for innovative arts-based research
- Professor Julie McGarry has been named as the recipient of the Sigma European award for Excellence in Nursing Research 2024
- The prestigious accolade has been given in recognition of the significant impact her groundbreaking research has had on the nursing profession
- Professor McGarry has been empowering domestic and sexual abuse victims to communicate lived experiences that would otherwise remain undisclosed to healthcare professionals through innovative arts-based research which has influenced national policy
- Domestic abuse and sexual harm have an immediate and long-term impact on mental and physical health, with vulnerable groups often in frequent contact with nurses and healthcare professionals as a result
A nurse whose innovative arts-based healthcare research has empowered domestic abuse survivors to communicate lived experiences to healthcare professionals, has won a prestigious European award.
Professor Julie McGarry, who holds a joint Professorship in Nursing and Gender Based Violence at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been recognised with the Sigma European award for Excellence in Nursing Research 2024. The accolade is being given in recognition of the significant impact her groundbreaking research has had on the nursing profession.
Domestic abuse and sexual harm have an immediate and long-term impact on mental and physical health, with vulnerable groups often in frequent contact with nurses and healthcare professionals as a result. However, they rarely disclose lived experiences in healthcare settings and nurses often feel ill prepared to support disclosure.
Using a range of arts as a medium, Professor McGarry’s research has used different forms of expression, such as storytelling, painting, collage, poetry, photography, video stories, clay, textiles and animation, to empower victims and underrepresented groups to share perceptions and experiences alongside nurses and healthcare professionals.
This has played a leading role in influencing national policy, including the development of the Sexual Safety Collaborative Standards and Guidance to Improve Sexual Safety on Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Inpatient Pathways in which Professor McGarry contributed as part of the expert reference group. These standards were devised as a coproduction with those with lived experiences of domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental health and learning disabilities. They are now used by healthcare professionals to keep staff and visiting staff, families, friends and visitors within the inpatient environment safe.
By helping to reframe the prevailing healthcare narrative from ‘what is the matter with you’ to ‘what matters to you?’, her research has also changed the way healthcare professionals recognise and support domestic abuse victims and vulnerable groups.
Professor Julie McGarry, Professor in Nursing and Gender Based Violence at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am deeply honoured to be accepting this prestigious award. The value of personal narrative cannot be underestimated, and through my research we have been able to reframe the discourse of health and illness for vulnerable and underrepresented groups from one which is professionally dominated to one which holds the most meaning for the individuals concerned.
“This award is also a fabulous endorsement of the benefit arts-based healthcare research can have in giving voice to those who would otherwise remain silent in healthcare settings.”
Professor McGarry will be presented with her award at the 7th Sigma European biennial conference which takes place at Bournemouth University between 26-28 June.
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