Managing Pain Control in Children with Burns and Trauma in Hospitals
‘It wasn’t an easy journey, but I am proud to have completed a PhD,’ said Dr Shelley Lynn Wall on obtaining her PhD in Medicine (General Surgery).
Her study examined why children with burns do not receive adequate pain management and ways to overcome these obstacles to achieve optimal pain control for these already traumatised children.
‘I am hoping to get more involved in clinical research that can bring about meaningful change in the management of burn patients in low and medium-income countries (LMICs),’ she said.
Wall is a general surgeon and Burns Consultant at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. She grew up in Boksburg, Gauteng and matriculated at Boksburg High School. She completed her MMed as part of her training as a general surgeon.
She is currently busy with local clinical research projects relevant to burns management in KwaZulu-Natal and is also part of international collaborative projects aimed at improving burn care and burn research in LMICs.
During her PhD project, she realised that she really enjoyed statistics and wanted to become more proficient. She has enrolled for a one-year Certificate in Medical Statistics through Stanford University.
Said Wall, ‘I had my second child a month after registering for my PhD. Juggling two small children, a full-time job as a burns surgeon and trying to complete a PhD was quite a challenge. Finding time to get to everything was hard but being as organised as possible, setting goals, and deadlines and sticking to them as far as possible, made it possible to complete my PhD. I am also exceptionally lucky that my husband was very supportive of my PhD journey and I also had a great deal of support from my supervisor and co-supervisor. I am one of the UKZN DRILL Fellows and I also received a great deal of support from the DRILL team and the other DRILL Fellows.’
Wall strongly believes that clinicians are in a unique position to conduct meaningful research to improve patient management, yet most clinicians, unless compelled to because they need to complete a MMed, avoid research. ‘I think this is because they are scared of it and have no idea where to start. It’s really important for clinicians to be upskilled in the field of research.’
Words: Lihle Sosibo