Doctoral Study Evaluates the Impact of Adverse Obstetrics Events on Healthcare Professionals’ Psychological Wellbeing
Dr Puvashnee Nydoo was awarded a PhD in Medicine (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) for her evaluation of the impact of adverse obstetrics events on the psychological wellbeing of healthcare professionals in KwaZulu-Natal.
Healthcare professionals are regarded as the secondary victims of adverse medical events as they can be deeply affected and traumatised.
While there is a rich body of literature on the impact of adverse events on these professionals in other health specialities, few studies have focused on obstetrics care. For example, in South Africa, a country with a high number of adverse obstetrics events, there are no published reports on their impact on healthcare professionals.
The study demonstrated that individual, situational, and organisational factors influence the severity of secondary victim responses. Support for healthcare professionals helps to alleviate these responses. However, a lack of organisational support in public sector hospitals in South Africa, coupled with the stigma associated with seeking support, impedes this.
Twenty-eight-year-old Nydoo has always been passionate about research. After completing her master’s degree, she felt that pursuing a doctorate would provide her the opportunity to conduct research more independently and combine her background in psychology with her interest in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She said recruiting participants was more difficult than she anticipated given the sensitive nature of her research. Many felt uncomfortable recounting their experiences of adverse obstetrics events and as a result, data collection was prolonged, hindering the completion of her degree at an earlier date. She thanked her supervisors, Professors J Moodley (Women’s Health and HIV Research Unit) and BJ Pillay (Behavioural Medicine) for their support and assistance.
Nydoo is a study coordinator at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa. She previously served as a study coordinator for the TSHEPPO study, a Trial of sFlt-1/PlGF for Hypertension in Pregnancy Prediction and Outcome which investigates the clinical effectiveness of using the ratio of antiangiogenic and angiogenic factors sFlt-1 and PlGF in the triage of patients with suspected preeclampsia in South Africa.
‘I had the privilege of doing my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at UKZN. My experience at the institution has been enjoyable. I have had some amazing lecturers and supervisors who have assisted me in achieving my goals. I have also made some lifelong friends that I treasure.’
Born and bred in Durban, Nydoo comes from a family that values education. She was involved in sports from a young age and competed in swimming and surfing at provincial level throughout her school years. Her family has always been supportive and ensured that she struck a healthy balance between work and sport.
Words: Lihle Sosibo