PhD - Prevalence and meaning of fatigue in patients recovering from critical illness

Prevalence and meaning of fatigue in patients recovering from critical illness

Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Oxford Brookes University


Dr. Louise Stayt

Dr Helen Walthall

Clinical Collaborator

Professor Catherine Stoddart, Chief Nurse, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


  • Rehabilitation from critical illness may be protracted and complex. Patients frequently report high levels of emotional and physical fatigue following a critical illness.  Engagement with physical and social rehabilitation interventions may be limited by a patient’s level of fatigue. Exploring the prevalence and experiences of fatigue may inform the development of individualised and appropriate rehabilitation strategies and indicate whether there is a need for fatigue management interventions. This is significant as investigating ways in which patients and families may be best supported upon discharge has been highlighted by the James Lind Alliance as one of the top three ICU research priorities (Reay et al. 2014). In addition, the National Institute For Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline 83 ‘Rehabilitation after Critical Illness’ (NICE CG83) identifies the exploration of patient rehabilitation after critical illness as a research priority (NICE 2009)

NICE (2009) Rehabilitation after critical illness: NICE Clinical Guideline 83. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, London.

Reay, H., Arulkumaran, N. & Brett, S. (2014) Priorities for future intensive care research in the UK: results of a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership. Journal of the Intensive Care Society, 15(4), 288-296.

Louise Stayt is a Senior lecturer specialising in critical and acute care at Oxford Brookes University.

Dr Helen Walthall is a Programme Lead/Principal Lecturer for Advanced and Specialist Nursing Practice and has a clinical background in Cardiac nursing. She has led research projects developing patient reported outcomes, exploring patient experience and carer experiences in a number of condition and symptom areas.  She an experienced PhD supervisor.

For further information about the research project please contact Professor Debra Jackson on

Applicants should be of the highest quality and capable of submitting a PhD thesis within 4 years alongside undertaking clinical duties within the trust. The successful applicant’s should have a first class or upper second class (minimum 2.1) honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or an acceptable equivalent qualification from a recognised Higher Education Institution. A Master’s degree with research methods training and/or evidence of the skills required for higher research study would be desirable. 

Please see the main OUH Studentships page for the full requirements and application process.