Communities of practice have been used as a way of sharing practice and developing knowledge. The End of Life Care Education Consortium was formed by three hospice education departments in the West Midlands, United Kingdom, with the support of the Strategic Health Authority, to provide education programmes for healthcare professionals in palliative care. As the Consortium worked collaboratively, I wanted to explore whether there was potential for it to evolve into a community of practice and whether there was scope for communities of practice being utilised in end of life care settings to share and develop practice. The literature review revealed there were no articles written on communities of practice in palliative care settings and demonstrated that the workplace is an important area for learning as new staff learn from more experienced members of the workforce. Communities of practice can be used for experienced staff to learn from each other and share practice with others from outside the community. Case study research was used to explore whether the Consortium had the potential to evolve into a community of practice and if its members learnt from each other. Members of the Consortium were interviewed using semi-structured interviews, documents including my research diary, reports and notes from meetings were also used as data. Although the findings showed that the Consortium was not functioning as a community of practice it did have the key characteristics of one and there is potential for hospices to form communities of practice to enable staff to share practice and support each other. The findings demonstrated that for a community of practice to be successful it requires the support of management to allow staff to take part in community activities, seen as an important part of the organisation’s culture and there needs to be leadership to enable the community to develop. Journal clubs, clinical supervision and multidisciplinary meetings are already in place and these could be ways of healthcare professionals sharing knowledge and learning together. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2015) state that all nurses and midwives are required to revalidate every three years to enable them to practise as registered nurses; one of my recommendations is that communities of practice could be used to keep staff updated. Inviting healthcare professionals from outside the hospice to take part in community activities would enable knowledge to flow in and out therefore enhancing patient care.
Paediatric high grade glioma (HGG), including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are highly aggressive tumours with no effective cures. Lack of understanding of the molecular biology of these tumours, in part due to lack of well-characterised pre-clinical models, is a great challenge in the development of novel therapies. Analysis of paired cell culture/biopsy samples in this study revealed that paediatric HGG short-term cell cultures retain many of the tumour characteristics in vivo. Using a genome-wide approach, copy number, gene and miRNA expression, and methylation changes were characterised in 17 paediatric HGG-derived short-term cell cultures including 3 from DIPG. The majority of the genomic changes were unique from those arising in adult HGG. Approximately 65% (11/17) of paediatric HGG short-term cell cultures had balanced genetic profiles resembling normal karyotypes. The most frequent copy number gain and loss were detected at 14q11.2 (94%) and 8p11.23-p11.22 (59%), respectively. H3F3A (K27M) mutation was present in 2/17 (12%) cases and concurrent loss of CDKN2A and BRAFV600E in 1/17 (6%) case. Genes involved in reelin/PI3K signaling (DAB1), RTK signaling (PTPRE), and arginine biosynthesis (ASS1 and ASL) were frequently deregulated by methylation in these tumours. The anti-growth and anti-migratory properties of DAB1 and PTPRE were demonstrated in vitro. Preliminary investigations validated the therapeutic potential of ADI-PEG20 (arginine depletion), and PI-103 (PI3K/mTOR inhibition) in a subset of paediatric HGG short-term cell cultures. This study has identified novel genetic and epigenetic changes in paediatric HGG that may, following further validation, be translated into potential biomarkers and/or therapeutic targets.
Dibra, Harpreet Kaur (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
The base excision repair protein, MBD4 (also known as MED1) is known to be transcriptionally coupled to a mismatch repair protein MLH1. To date the significance of this coupling has not been elucidated and the significance of MBD4 within the mismatch repair system and apoptotic pathway is still being understood. Recently a novel alternatively spliced form of MBD4 has been identified and termed sMBD4. To date the significance of sMBD4 is unknown. MBD4 and sMBD4 share a common glycosylase domain and this is the domain through which MBD4 is reported to interact with MLH1. It was the aim of this study to determine if sMBD4 was also a binding partner of MLH1 to help elucidate a potential role of sMBD4 and to further characterise the binding domain between MLH1 and MBD4. Recombinant proteins were utilised in binding assays however, a specific protein – protein interaction could not be determined. Regular aspirin intake is associated with a reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer. Aspirin has been shown to be cytotoxic to colorectal cancer cells in vitro. The molecular basis for this cytotoxicity is controversial, with a number of competing hypotheses in circulation. One suggestion is that the protective effect is related to the induction of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) proteins in DNA MMR proficient cells. As MBD4 has previously been suggested to be coupled to MLH1 expression by a post‐translational mechanism the cytotoxicy of aspirin in relation to MBD4 expression was examined. This study reports that aspirin does not up‐regulate MBD4 gene transcription in vitro in the DNA mismatch repair proficient/p53 mutant colorectal cancer cell line SW480. However, MBD4 gene transcription was up‐regulated upon treatment with the aspirin precursor, salicylic acid. The suggested involvement of the DNA repair proteins in the mechanism of action of aspirin promoted the investigation into the expression of DNA damage signalling pathways genes upon aspirin exposure. This study utilised a commercially available PCR array to analyse the expression of 84 DNA damage signalling genes in the SW480 colorectal cancer cell line upon aspirin treatment. It is reported that treatment of the SW480 cell line with aspirin caused changes in mRNA expression of several key genes involved in DNA damage signalling including a significant down‐regulation in expression of the genes encoding ATR, BRCA1 and MAPK12 and increases in the expression of XRCC3 and GADD45α genes. Regulation of these genes could potentially have profound effects on colorectal cancer cells and may play a role in the observed chemo‐protective effect of aspirin in vivo.Further to this, protein expression was analysed to determine if correlation could be established with the changes in mRNA expression observed. Although a correlation was not seen between transcript and protein levels of ATR, BRCA1 and GADD45α, an increase in XRCC3 protein expression upon aspirin treatment in SW480 cells was observed by immunoblotting, immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical analysis. This study indicates that alterations in gene expression seen in microarray studies need to be verified at the protein level. Furthermore, this study reports the novel discovery of XRCC3 gene and protein expression being susceptible to exposure to the non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drug, aspirin.
Tsiotra, Georgia D. (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
Background: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) describes children with a difficulty to acquire age-specific motor skills. Although there is a significant body of literature addressing developmental and cognitive issues in children with DCD, few studies have actually examined the associations between DCD, physical activity and physical fitness. Therefore, the aim of the present research work was to assess these associations in a series of four successive studies which were set: a) (study 1) to estimate DCD prevalence rates in Greek children and investigate whether these children exhibit different obesity and cardiorespiratory fitness levels than an overseas sample, b) (study 2) to provide evidence on the association between DCD and physical fitness levels, c) (study 3) examine whether a motor skills and exercise training intervention programme affects motor proficiency in a cohort of elementary school children with and without DCD, and d) (study 4) to test the hypothesis that DCD is associated with CVD risk, identify modes of physical activity that mediate such an association and to evaluate the CSAPPA scale as a potential tool for identifying Greek children for DCD. Methods: The total of 574 Greek (Age: 11.46 ± 1.54 years; BMI: 19.96 ± 3.53) children were assessed for anthropometry, physical fitness (flexibility, hand strength, leg explosive power, speed and cardiorespiratory fitness), motor competence (i.e., short form of the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Profiency- BOTMP-sf) and subjected to two self assessments for: i) perception of adequacy for physical activity (CSAPPA scale), and ii) children’s participation in physical activity (Participation Questionnaire - PQ). Results: Study 1: Greek children demonstrated significantly higher DCD prevalence rates (p<0.05), higher body fat (p<0.05) and were inferior in both cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.05) and motor competence (p<0.05) compared to an overseas sample. Study 2: Greek children with DCD demonstrated significantly higher BMI values (p<0.01) and lower leg explosive power (p<0.01), speed (p<0.01) and hand strength (p<0.01) than those without DCD. Study 3: Results showed a significant main effect of time [F(14, 115) = 3.79, p< 0.001; η2 = 0.32] for motor competence (p<0.001) between children with and without DCD. Significant main effects of group (i.e intervention and control groups) [F(42, 351) = 4.01, p< 0.001; η2 = 0.33] were observed for BMI (p<0.01), motor competence (p<0.01), cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.01), hand strength (p<0.05), leg explosive power (p<0.05), speed (p<0.01), and free time play activities (p<0.05). Study 4: Chi-square comparisons and ANOVA, revealed significantly increased body mass (p<0.05), BMI (p<0.05) and inactivity (p<0.05), as well as significantly decreased cardiorespiratory fitness (p<0.05), motor competence (p<0.05), CSAPPA indices, and participation in free play (p<0.05) in children with DCD. Furthermore, BMI and cardiorespiratory fitness were significantly associated with motor competence (p<0.05) with inactivity as the mediating factor (p<0.05). ROC curve analyses for CSAPPA indicated an optimal cut-off at 62 points. Conclusions: 1) the relatively high DCD and obesity prevalence rates together with the low cardiorespiratory fitness suggest greater health risk for Greek children with the studied condition, 2) children with DCD tend to perform worse in selected physical fitness parameters compared to their normal peers, 3) motor skills and exercise training interventions for children with DCD may improve health and skills related fitness, and 4) inactivity mediates the relationship between DCD and CVD risk in children with DCD. Finally, the CSAPPA scale may serve as a practical and a cost-effective proxy assessment for identifying Greek children with DCD, however as this is not a standardised test for use with children, its use should be treated with caution until further validation work.
Gill, Gobinder Singh (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
Emotional intelligence has become a popular construct in both academic and applied settings (Petrides, Furnham, & Fredickinson, 2004; Zizzi, Deaner, & Hirschhorn, 2003). Research indicates that emotional intelligence is associated with successful performance outcomes in a range of domains including academia (Parker, Summerfeldt, Hogan, & Majeski, 2004), business (Zeidner, Matthews, & Roberts, 2004) and health (Pau & Crocker, 2003). Such findings have prompted researchers to explore the potential utility of emotional intelligence in sport (Meyer & Fletcher, 2007; Meyer & Zizzi, 2007). The present MPhil thesis has a two-pronged approach of examining emotional intelligence in sport. Conceptual issues of emotional intelligence are examined in relation to model approach and measurement. Therefore, two studies investigated the validity and reliability of the Emotional Intelligence Scale (EIS: Schutte et al., 1998). Results demonstrate that a revised version of the EIS (Schutte et al., 1998) is a useful measure of emotional intelligence for use in sport, although it has several limitations. These investigations also found support for the use of a six-factor model of the EIS (Schutte et al., 1998) comprising of appraisal of own emotions, appraisal of others emotions, regulation, utilization of emotions, optimism and social skills. Once conceptual issues have been examined and psychometric properties are found for a measure, it is also prudent to explore relationships between emotional intelligence and other related variables. To this extent, two studies explored the relationships between emotional intelligence and other related variables. In examining relationships between emotional intelligence and anger, both quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated that participants high in emotional intelligence ability were able to utilise strategies to combat the negative effects of anger. In a follow up study, relationships between emotional intelligence, mental toughness, and psychological skills were examined. Results showed that emotional intelligence, mental toughness, and psychological skills relationships co-exist. Arguably, these findings are important given that these variables can relate to emotional control and successful performance outcomes. Findings also lend support to the assumption that practitioners could utilise intervention programmes to assess emotional intelligence and its direction in relation to mental toughness and psychological skills. In summary, emotional intelligence is an important construct and its utility in sport should be further examined.
Traditional architectural and urban artefacts are showed over the centuries as a powerful imprint of human actions and practices and are being developed on the basis of concrete socio-cultural factors and environmental rationalities. Spatial and morphological patterns of traditional environments have exceedingly evolved to fulfill and accomplish the social and cultural needs of the populace in their dialectical interplay with the surrounding environment. This relationship conceptualises the man-made environment, as the repository of meaning, in users‟ reciprocal relation with the surrounding environment. In the context of history, the human tends to dwell when experiencing the built environment as meaningful. Traditional contexts are highlighted as physical and spatial interpretations of human activities, skills, thoughts and resources creating identifiable and meaningful realms related to space/place, time and society. The study uncovers the process of the formation of the house and mahalla in order to shed light on how the built environment responds to inhabitants‟ socio-cultural determinants and everyday lives. It unfolds how changes in the nature of Iraqi society and its priorities affect the architecture of home and mahalla by reference to the impact of modernity with all its alien socio-cultural principles.
This thesis focuses on the architecture of home and mahalla within the traditional core of Kadhimiya city and similar Iraqi socio-cultural contexts. At the macro analytical level, the research investigates the spatial and physical formation of the mahalla as a whole through detecting the socio-spatial aspects of its realms, and how its spontaneous form has responded to the socio-cultural aspects of the community in an integral pattern. At the micro level, the research will go deeper in the perception of the basic aspects of the individual and the family. It investigates how the traditional house reflects and satisfies the personal values of the individual, and achieves his socio-cultural beliefs and everyday life on the basis of inherent norms and conventions. In this vein, public, semi-public/private and private domains are investigated to highlight the mutual interplay between these spheres as key factors in understanding the architecture of the house and mahalla. The research discusses indigenous aspects and principles contained or embedded in the structure of the traditional environment, such as privacy, social solidarity and stability, neighbourliness and so on. It reveals insight into the male-female relationship in the social life of the traditional context, and how the position of women and their idle qualities impact the structure of the house and the hierarchical sequence and organisation of spaces. Identity, tradition, sustainability and everyday life are the main fields discussed with a specific end goal to outline and uncover the role of social factors, cultural beliefs and daily practices in the creation of this particular form.
Building on these values, the research adopts an interpretive historical method in revealing the characters of the traditional environment referring to residents‟ habits, customs, rituals and traditions. Several approaches to the built and home environment are discussed for paving or detecting reliable one in the methodological inquiry within which many tools and methods have been utilised and used i.e. archival records, interviews, historical narratives, personal observation and photographic surveys. Data generated consists of photos, maps, interviewees‟ comments, analytical diagrams and historical and travellers‟ descriptions.
Research findings indicate many of the inherent and underlying principles upon which the architecture of Iraqi traditional house depends. Within this context, the study has tried to unfold how the formation of the traditional house and the mahalla responded to the socio-cultural aspects of the community and the daily life of its members. Findings, concerning the design principles of the traditional mahalla, were realised as indigenous norms and standards embedded in the structure of society, which can be useful for architects, designers and planners to reconcile traditional and contemporary urban forms through the application of former rules and conventions in City‟s conservation or redevelopment plans. The study reveals that the traditional environment had less socio-cultural contradictions, active day-to-day practices and clear, identifiable and meaningful identity compared with contemporary built environments. Research findings, thus, lead to a set of relevant recommendations addressed to many of the community categories, architects, planners, stakeholders and those interested in this field. They aim to promote the impressive role of socio-cultural factors and strengthen users‟ competence in their physical and spatial settings for home. Moreover, research recommendations discuss how social factors, cultural values, beliefs, practices and rituals can be re-employed in our approach to achieving a more sustainable living environment. Recommendations relating to identity and tradition aim to draw attention and shed light on the significance of traditional built environments in the development of special identity, which played a big role in the sustainability of these contexts for centuries.
Recent attention has been drawn to human resource management within the Nigerian context, with increased interest in the improvement of organisational management practices to enable Nigeria to compete in an increasingly globalised economy (Fajana et al., 2011). Despite this, however, there is a distinct paucity of academic literature addressing the effects of culture and religion on gender equality in management within Nigerian organisations (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012).
Nigeria does not have an indigenous tradition of human resource management, and as a consequence, many of its management practices are imported alongside foreign investment and amalgamated with local practices (Fajana et al., 2011). Nigeria’s patriarchal culture and demographic context have significant implications on diversity management, and this reflects on the composition of the workforce (Tiemo and Arubayi, 2012). Qualitative data collected in Northern, Southern and Eastern regions of Nigeria through in-depth interviews were coded and analysed. The study found that hotels in Nigeria are still grappling with the problem of gender inequality with females’ career development suffering greatly under the burden of a patriarchal culture. Females are also made to take job responsibilities that reflect their positions in the society and households. Secondly, the intersecting factors of gender, religion and culture put severe pressures on women, which tend to have a negative impact on work-life balance. Thirdly, family responsibility and expectations deter females from seeking promotion to the higher level of hotel administration. Many females who attempt to ‘rebel’ against the standing cultural order find themselves in marriage crises. Finally, gender diversity management is not promoted in Nigerian hotels.
The study makes contributions to theory and practice. It finds common ground for the application of hegemonic masculinity framework and intersectionality perspective in gender and management inquiries. The study recommends radical holistic change is required regarding policy, cultural, programmatic, attitudinal and social actions.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) as an ambitious Government Construction Strategy (GCS) on all publicly procured sector projects, is leading to a significant shift and changing the dynamics of cost professional functions. This therefore requires the current fragmented construction industry to urgently review approaches to existing cost estimating and cost planning processes leading to a reliable project budget. This drive, along with 2025 construction strategy is key to achieving the requirement of GCS for 25 percent cost reduction. To successfully implement Level 2 BIM, relevant costing framework, enabling 5D BIM cost protocol or standard significant to changing dynamics of cost functions within BIM environment is required to be embedded within design development stages. Using phenomenological qualitative research method and thematic data analytical process, interviews involving 21 participants from seven construction organisations with design, construction and cost management practices were conducted. Scope was intentionally provided for extensive discussion to identify issues beyond the literature findings. Findings suggest strong commitment and leadership from organisational management will facilitate cost savings, generate accurate cost information in a Level 2 BIM project. A considerable cultural shift towards automating and digitising cost functions virtually; stronger collaborative working relationship relative to costing in design development, construction practice, maintenance and operation is required across the built environment. The 5D BIM Costing Framework (5B-CF) which informed the creation of 5D BIM Cost Protocol (5B-CP) as developed would allow contractors fully utilise BIM facilitating more effective 5D costing in a contractor-led project.
Knowledge management (KM) implementation strategies on construction projects can reap benefits such as improved performance and continuous improvement yet many projects are characterised by inefficiencies, repetition of mistakes and lack of lessons learnt. Poor skills, design changes, errors and omissions contribute to the internal failure cost element of the Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ) while the resultant effect of client dissatisfaction contributes to the external failure cost. COPQ is prevalent regardless of project type and has been found to be over 10% of total project cost in certain cases. While the need to reduce COPQ is definite, it is uncertain what impact KM has in its reduction. The aims of the research therefore are twofold (i) to investigate the impact of KM in reducing COPQ on construction projects (ii) to develop a KM framework for reducing COPQ on construction projects. A mixed method approach was adopted for the research with an exploratory sequential research design utilising both qualitative and quantitative inquiries to address the research aims. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaire survey were selected as the method for qualitative and quantitative data collection respectively. The interviews were conducted with 25 industry experts involved in KM strategies for large construction organisations across UK to obtain data, based on their experiences and expertise on projects, which were then analysed using content analysis. The output from the analysis yielded variables and working hypotheses which were tested through the questionnaire survey. Further data were obtained from 114 survey respondents who have iii been mostly involved in KM initiatives for large construction organisations across UK. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics. From the interpretation of the entire qualitative and quantitative data, it was found that KM can be complex and difficult to manage within organisations and on projects. Although KM was perceived to have positive impact in reducing COPQ, organisations did not, and could not quantify COPQ neither could they measure the extent of the impact of KM on COPQ. Causal links were found between COPQ elements i.e. errors and omissions, design changes and poor skills, contrary to the theoretical suggestion of being mutually exclusive. It was found that KM currently has not been optimised to reduce COPQ due to a number of barriers. Optimising KM to reduce COPQ therefore involves overcoming the barriers as follows: develop performance metrics to assess the impact of KM on COPQ on projects; appoint knowledge champions to facilitate KM activities to reduce COPQ; adopt a positive organisational culture towards KM; allocate adequate time and budget for KM activities on projects; select procurement strategies that support and facilitate KM. A KM framework for reducing COPQ on construction projects was developed as an output of the research and evaluated by industry practitioners. It can be concluded that the optimisation of KM can significantly reduce COPQ. A key recommendation for industry practitioners therefore is to adopt a holistic approach to quantifying COPQ and assessing the impact of KM in reducing COPQ such as the one presented in this research. The research contributes to the body of knowledge in the area of cost reduction, quality improvements and knowledge management on projects.
Bezerra, José Fernando Rodrigues; Fullen, Michael A.; Guerra, Antonio J. T. (2011)
The research analysed the geomorphological characteristics of the Bacanga basin of São Luís municipality. Basin characteristics were related to highly developed erosion processes. The approach considered the identification of environmental fragility classes, the monitoring of an experimental station and the rehabilitation of a degraded area using soil bioengineering techniques. The adopted methodological procedures included: 1. Cartographic and bibliographic surveys. 2. Mapping of the hypsometry, slope, land use, rainfall index and geomorphology of the Bacanga basin, along with analysis of the morphostructure and morphosculture of the Gulf of Maranhense and environmental fragility mapping. 3. Establishing an experimental station with two replicate erosion plots and measuring the following parameters: vegetation cover index, soil surface changes using erosion pins, soil matric potential, runoff and sediment loss. 4. The rehabilitation of Sacavém gully using soil bioengineering techniques (using geotextiles constructed from palm leaves of the Buriti tree). Mapping showed that identified gullies are located on the plateau edges of the basin and are very fragile environments. The greatest interval of vegetation cover index development was between February (0%) and March (33.35%) (both 2009), whereas the smallest difference was 5.31%, between May (75.88%) and June (both 2009) (81.19%). The difference of erosion/deposition pin data within the bare and vegetated soil plots was significant using the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test (P <0.001). The results obtained from tensiometers at 10, 20, 40 and 60 cm depth showed a significant difference (P <0.001) between the bare and geotextile-covered plots. Soil matric potential measurements indicate that geotextile plots had an improved soil water regime. Rainfall during the measuring period (February-June 2009) was 2,067.5 mm. This caused a total of 494.6 L m-2 runoff from the two bare plots and 208.6 L m-2 from the two geotextile plots. There were significant differences in soil loss between the plot treatments, demonstrating the effectiveness of geotextiles plus grass in decreasing erosion rates. The two bare soil plots lost a total of 4,391.0 g m-2 of sediment, while the geotextile plots lost 255.9 g m-2. Rehabilitation work on Sacavém gully showed that soil bioengineering was a very effective soil conservation technique.
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