Exciting and unique opportunity with the Institute of Health Visiting

Research Associate

Based in Kent, Essex  or London

Applications are invited for a Research Associate at the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) for a fixed term period of ten months. The post is available from early March, following successful appointment. The research is funded by Health Education England (HEE) working across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Applications are invited from highly motivated researchers with an interest in public health, doctor-patient communication, behaviour change, implementation science and/or health services research to join the iHV as a research associate. The post holder will join the research team to work on the, “Improving the delivery of different news study 2”. This study follows the feasibility study which was completed in 2019. It is an applied research study involving both families and Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) to establish best practices for delivering different news to families. “Different news” describes the process of imparting information relating to an unborn child or a newborn having a condition associated with a learning disability. This mixed-methods study aims to expand on the findings of the feasibility study and to develop, deliver and evaluate a training intervention to improve the process of delivering different news to families. The post holder, who will have a doctorate relevant to requirements of the post, will be based in Kent or Essex and will be prepared to travel within their post.

Applications close: 9.00 am on Thursday 20 February 2020 

Interviews:  Monday 2 March 2020 

Start date: ideally early March 2020

iHV is delighted to support Infant Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (#IMHAW19) organised by the Association for Infant Mental health UK (AIMH).

IMHAW19 runs from Monday 10 June to Friday 14 June – and the topic this year is “Difficult Beginnings”. Each day of the week has themes and AIMH will be releasing relevant articles each day throughout the week to include:

  • Day 1: Difficult Beginnings: Pregnancy
    • Finding out your baby has a genetic disorder. How that impacts Parental Foetal Attachment in pregnancy and beyond. 
  • Day 2: Difficult Beginnings: Birth
    • How a traumatic or difficult birth impacts the baby and parent-infant relationship. 
  • Day 3: Difficult Beginnings: After Birth
    • How the baby and parent-infant relationship is impacted by a stay in SCBU/NICU.
  • Day 4: Difficult Beginning: First Few Months
    • When previous losses get in the way of the parent-infant attachment. 
  • Day 5: Difficult Beginnings: Getting Some Help
    • If things aren’t going well in pregnancy or following the birth of the baby, it is important for parents to seek help.

In support of the theme of the first day, we are pleased to reshare information on one of our current mental health research projects –  Improving the Delivery of Different News to Families by Healthcare Professionals.

About the research project

The term “different news” is to describe the process of imparting and receiving sad, bad or difficult information relating to a foetus or neonate. Being told different news is a life changing event for parents – potentially triggering perinatal mental illness and more. How parents are told is critical as it can determine how they cope and adjust in response to the news. The delivery of different news is necessary part of healthcare practice. Many practitioners receive little formal training on how to tell parents different news.

To improve the delivery of different news we are conducting research to develop a training programme for healthcare professionals.

This is being conducted over two phases. For the first phase, we collected the experiences of parents who have received different news relating to their child and also took healthcare professionals’ experiences of delivering this news to parents. These experiences are being used to inform the training programme to improve the delivery of different news.




Are you part of a team that delivers different news to parents? Do you work in Kent, Surrey or Sussex?

The expression “different news” is used in this study to describe the process of imparting unexpected, bad, sad or difficult information relating to an unborn or a newborn child having a condition associated with a learning disability.

The way different news is given to parents affects how parents receive, interpret, understand and adjust to the news – it can result in parental distress, fear, grief, depression, anxiety and chronic stress. This may impact on their parenting, the development of the child, and engagement with follow-on professional services.

As part of an ongoing study funded by Health Education England, the Institute of Health Visiting is piloting some training to support how healthcare professionals deliver different news – “Improving the Delivery of Different News to Families by Healthcare Professionals”.

Monday 10 September 2018 – Canterbury

Tuesday 11 September 2018 – Crawley

Please pass this information on to any colleagues who you think would benefit from attending the training pilot. At present we are seeking participants from the following staff groups to support this phase of the study:

  • Paediatricians/Neonatologists or Specialty trainees in this field
  • Obstetricians or Obstetric Specialty Trainees
  • Midwives, particularly Screening Midwives
  • Specialist Paediatric nurses or Advanced Nurse Practitioners or Neonatal nurses
  • Sonographers

Places on these free training pilots are limited, and are subject to eligibility determined by role and region of work.

Please express interest in attending the training by registering for consideration for this programme on the links below.