My job

A passion for research

When and why did you develop an interest in research? It was a passion of mine during my PhD studies at the University of Florida in the United States and continued to be a major priority as a junior faculty member at the University of California in San Francisco. I was one of the first researchers into pain in children.

Now working in Lebanon, Huda Abu-Saad Huijer has been influential in the field of pain assessment in children

My programme of research on pain management and palliative care had an effect on healthcare delivery and policy in Europe, and now in Lebanon. I co-authored the mandate on pain relief and palliative care in Lebanon, and this has led to palliative care being recognised as a regular field of healthcare in the country.

Who has been most influential in your career as a nurse and as a researcher?

My mother has been my role model. She has shown me that it is possible to hold a challenging position while being an excellent and passionate mother. I was also fortunate to have worked with excellent researchers in the US and Europe who have been sources of inspiration to me.

Of your published research, which

...

Now working in Lebanon, Huda Abu-Saad Huijer has been influential in the field of pain assessment in children

My programme of research on pain management and palliative care had an effect on healthcare delivery and policy in Europe, and now in Lebanon. I co-authored the mandate on pain relief and palliative care in Lebanon, and this has led to palliative care being recognised as a regular field of healthcare in the country.

Who has been most influential in your career as a nurse and as a researcher?

My mother has been my role model. She has shown me that it is possible to hold a challenging position while being an excellent and passionate mother. I was also fortunate to have worked with excellent researchers in the US and Europe who have been sources of inspiration to me.

Of your published research, which has been the most influential and why?

I was one of the first nurse researchers to publish in the renowned journal Pain on pain assessment in children. This work is still considered seminal in the field.

Which of your achievements has given you the most satisfaction?

Mentoring and supervising PhD dissertations, and working with junior researchers, have been the highlight of my academic career and given me utmost satisfaction.

As head of nursing science and director of the centre for nursing research at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, I was involved in a large number of interdisciplinary funded research projects as principal or co-principal investigator, which resulted in the completion of numerous PhD dissertations based on articles.

All my PhD students published a minimum of 5-6 articles that were included in their dissertation book. As president of the Lebanese Society for the Study of Pain, and vice-president of the Lebanese National Committee for Pain Relief and Palliative Care, I have contributed to declarations recognising pain relief and palliative care as a human right.

You have published widely on pain management and palliative care in children and adults. What do you think the current research challenges are?

Research funding is the number one challenge for nurse researchers worldwide, but particularly for nurse researchers in developing countries with limited research resources, such as Lebanon.

What research projects are you working on?

I have conducted a number of studies on pain relief and palliative care in adults and children with cancer in Lebanon, and I am working on a multicentre study on palliative care in older adults.

What tips would you give someone new to research in nursing?

Nurse researchers should have a passion for research. They need the knowledge and skill to conduct research, should seek guidance through expert mentorship, and should be open to constructive criticism. They should be rigorous in their work and, most importantly, they should be honest and diligent in publishing their results.

What do you think the future has in store for nursing and nursing research?

The importance of educating the public, particularly young people, about the value of nursing and the career opportunities the profession provides remain high on the agenda everywhere.

Nursing research contributes to knowledge development and is essential to the profession. I believe that interdisciplinary collaborative research in healthcare is the way forward for nursing in the future.

Dr Huijer also serves on the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Pain Control and Palliative Care committee. She has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from MacMillan Cancer Support and the International Journal of Palliative Nursing

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