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The University of Southampton
Medical Education

New Southampton initiative disseminated at national AoME conference

Published: 19 November 2014
Acadmey of Medical Educators

Louise Dubras and Deborah Rose gave a presentation at the annual conference of the Academy of Medical Educators held on 22 October at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. It was entitled: “Learning on the job-medical students as Healthcare Support workers”.


In reviewing our undergraduate curriculum we had an opportunity to think creatively about the delivery of the learning outcomes of Tomorrow’s Doctors, specifically focussed on Teamworking and Professional behaviour. We wanted to address these and embed the principles and practice of Interprofessional Education (IPE) early in the programme, so have developed a new module for year 2 students undertaking shifts as healthcare support workers (HCSWs) in a large NHS trust.

We are reporting two pilots here and their early evaluation. These were conducted with volunteer 2nd year students working as HCSWs; a small pilot, 12 students(SP), then a larger pilot, 56 students (LP). All undertook induction then SP students worked 4 daytime weekend shifts, LP students 6. Ward staff provided written feedback to each student following shifts and on overall performance. Each student attended 3 tutorials led by IPE facilitators to share and reflect on their experiences and feedback. Evaluation was undertaken by electronic survey with questions requiring responses on a 5 point Likert scale and free text comments.

Quantitative survey results revealed:

  • Most students learned “substantially or quite a bit” about their role as a medical professional in a multiprofessional team (100% SP; 62% LP)
  • Over 90% students said the role helped them appreciate the importance of full work attendance and preparatory work.
  • All students (LP) stated they had learnt the importance of professionalism in the work place.
  • All had been able to practice and recognise the importance of effective and respectful communication with colleagues in a healthcare setting.

An example comment was

“I have experienced both very good and not so good communication between colleagues and the implications of this on the patient, which I have really been able to appreciate the importance of”

Ongoing evaluation will examine areas of wider learning for students from this module.

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