Turning assignments into healthcare resources: a student-lecturer-educational technologist collaboration


When did you first introduce the innovation?

Less than 12 months ago

Please describe the innovation you have developed

In year 2 of the BSc Nursing programme, students from child, adult and mental health fields of practice who have elected to undertake a work based project module, identify a work based/work focused project that will be of benefit to their field of practice.

As part of the module the students develop a learning contract that identifies the chosen project and the rationale for this and they present this to their group and the facilitator. This innovation highlights the continued collaborative working, after the taught module has ended, to work with students who have identified specific and creative work related projects and to take forward their ideas by supporting them with academic and technological support to develop the proposal and to work with practice partners with the aim of applying this in practice.

What prompted you to develop this innovation?

The engagement and the enthusiasm of students to creatively consider projects that would develop practice based on their own experiences. The ideas generated were inspiring and highlighted the contribution that all members of the workforce can make to improve the care we provide to patients. The innovation was developed to help students take forward their ideas in a practical and supported way using academic and technological support. As this was the first time this had been done we worked with two project ideas one from mental health: developing a blog for information on transgender and one from child health: developing an interactive resource for parents with premature babies.

In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?

This module is different in design and delivery to any other module in the curriculum. In this module students work in cross field, critical friend groups to develop their ideas for projects that would improve practice. It is the only module where students set their own learning outcomes and where the approach to learning is student led. It is important as it develops skills in project management and practice development within the pre-registration curriculum and it fosters inter-professional working and learning. Taking the ideas beyond the module and supporting students to develop the project is embedding and highlighting the links between theory and practice and evidence based developments in practice and is, most importantly, led by students.

To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?

It uses the existing classroom and on line learning structures but it requires the students to work in different ways: to identify their own learning needs, to work creatively with others and to take on the role of critical friend. The post-module collaboration with academic and educational technologist allows the students to develop skills using existing resources and technologies that they would not otherwise have been able to do.

To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?

The approach to teaching and learning has promoted debate within the School and will be considered when developing the new curriculum. Currently it is a local innovation but has the scope to develop within and beyond nursing programmes. We are in discussion with practice partners regarding introducing the student led resources into the practice area.

What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?

The module evaluations from the students highlight the unique approach to education in the pre-registration curriculum: ‘I like being able to put forward a project that has meaning to me and not being given a specific topic to talk about’ ‘I am glad that I have something like this as this module is very different to the other modules. This has helped me think more about learning, the process of learning and to think about future practice’

The response to a presentation that we gave on this was very positive. Practice partners have expressed interest in working with us on this and further evidence of the impact will be available once we have introduced the projects in practice.

To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?

The work of the students on the work based module and the resources developed by the two students were presented at an internal event ‘Health Has got Talent’ where the innovation was highly commended and the work developed was shared on the internal web. The approach has been shared with our practice partners and the next phase of this, where we will work with practice partners to introduce the students practice development initiatives is in progress.

Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.

We hope to present this initiative to colleagues internal and external to the University and to present further findings when we have implemented in practice.