Fulbright Scholar Dr. Amanda Drury: My research journey so far in the US

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
  • Fulbright Scholar Amanda Drury

The Fulbright Programme is an international programme of academic, cultural and professional exchange, designed to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries.

Fulbright awards provide students, professionals, and academics with grants to research, study, or lecture abroad, enabling international visitors to undertake study or research in US institutions, and US citizens to complete periods of study or research in other countries.

Dr. Amanda Drury, Assistant Professor at the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems is a 2020-21 recipient of the Fulbright - Health Research Board Health Impact Award. Dr. Drury has been connected with the Office of Nursing Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York since 2019. “I was awarded the Irish Association of Nurses in Oncology President's Prize in 2018 for my PhD research, which allowed me to undertake an observership [at] MSK with the Office of Nursing Research and Adult Survivorship Programme,” Dr. Drury said. “This short visit allowed me to develop formal partnerships in MSK which provided the foundation to prepare an application to the Fulbright Commission.” Having been awarded the fellowship, Amanda was planning her return in 2020 when covid hit, postponing the trip for 17 months, until her arrival in March 2022.

As she was preparing for her trans-Atlantic journey, Dr. Drury spoke with us about her research and the benefits of considering a Fulbright Scholarship application:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a registered general nurse, and in my current role, I am an Assistant Professor in Nursing at University College Dublin. I have worked clinically and academically as a cancer nurse for 14 years.

What are you hoping to achieve with your research?

I am committed to achieving a vision of care tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer from diagnosis through treatment to survivorship and end of life care. My current research is focused on the health and well-being of people affected by cancer and their families, and the development of complex interventions to address unmet needs of people affected by cancer and chronic illness.

People who live with and after cancer may experience various physical, psychological and social consequences of cancer and its treatment. However, follow-up care may often focus on the presence or absence of cancer, and the effects of cancer, particularly psychosocial effects may be overlooked. My research has highlighted how access and continuity of care and interactions with healthcare professionals could positively or negatively influence cancer survivors’ well-being. The results have contributed to an initial theoretical model (the MoHaQ-CS) to explain the impact of healthcare factors on cancer survivors’ quality of life outcomes. However, the meaning of this model is context-bound within the Irish healthcare system, which operates a mixed model of public and privately funded healthcare services.

Tell us a bit about your trip to the US. Who will you work with, what are you hoping to achieve from the trip.

During my time in the US, I will be working in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). I will be working with Professor Margaret Barton-Burke and her team in the Office of Nursing Research in MSK and the MSK Adult Survivorship Programme. My research in MSK will build on my previous work modelling quality of life outcomes, to validate the MoHaQ-CS theoretical model. Our research will explore the healthcare factors which influence cancer survivors’ quality of life outcomes within the US healthcare system, including models of service provision and survivorship care delivery, to identify similarities and differences in outcomes experienced by cancer survivors in Irish and US contexts.

What learnings are you hoping to bring back to Ireland?

I hope that this exchange will lead to future post-Fulbright collaborations with colleagues I have met in MSK and beyond. My work with MSK and Professor Margaret Barton-Burke and her team will provide opportunities to explore innovative practices in cancer survivorship care and models of care delivery which may be translated to the Irish health system.

Do you have any words of advice for those considering applying to the Fulbright programme?

My advice would be to start preparing early, as you will need to identify a host institution. Start thinking about who you would like to work with and why, and make contact early! Fulbright is a wonderful opportunity to build collaborations and undertake further study or research, but it is also a cultural exchange, and this should be carefully considered within your proposal. When preparing your application, it is helpful (and encouraged) that prospective applicants make contact with previous scholars. There is a wonderful community of Fulbright Alumni who are very generous with their advice and experiences, which is very helpful for any person considering applying for Fulbright.

Dr. Drury will be with the Office of Nursing Research in MSK through June 2022. She will moderate the Nursing Research Colloquium on Friday, May 6, 2022 as part of the Nurses Week celebration, and will present a Nursing Grand Rounds of her work on Monday, June 6, 2022.

We wish Dr. Drury every success with her work in the US and look forward to welcoming her back to Ireland soon.

Find out more about the Fulbright Scholarship Programme here.