Bucks postgraduates make positive change through HEA funded project

Buckinghamshire New University postgraduate nursing students in mental health, adult areas, child protection and adult safeguarding have undertaken their final project in conjunction with a wide range of participating ‘host’ health and social-care providers.

The project is called Service Improvement Research and Evaluation Partnerships (SIREP) and has been funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

It has held a first phase, with a second to come, and is designed to strengthen and enhance student employability, as well as provide tangible benefits to the host’s operation.

Students have taken part in phase one of this workplace-based project where they have been required to evaluate a portion of specific service delivery and make recommendations for improvement.

Host organisations who have taken part include Buckinghamshire HealthcareCentral and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) and Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board.

Jason Schaub, Senior Lecturer in Social Work in Buckinghamshire New University’s Faculty of Society & Health, comments: “This project gives our students the opportunity to directly engage with real-life projects in the workplace as well as improve services that interface with the public.

“The recent Francis Report in particular identified that a drive to meet targets and financial expectations had impacted on patient care.

“This project will help re-address that balance and improve student prospects of gaining employment in both the health and social care sectors, as well as deliver positive change to services within host organisations.

“Ultimately it is hoped that host organisations will implement findings from the postgraduates’ summary reports.”

The University has supported students whilst they carried out their service improvement projects and selected projects have been evaluated by research teams made up of academics, students and service users.

The study has also explored the experiences of engaging in service improvement within the ‘host organisations’, alongside the process of working with internal contacts.

To finish phase one, Bucks New University held a Student Colloquium entitled ‘Helping to shape the future of health and social care’ at its Campus in Oxford Road, Uxbridge, when its students taking part in SIREP were awarded prizes for best presentation and best poster artwork.

The event was opened by Ruth Clemow, the SIREP project leader and Head of School – Social Sciences, Primary Care & Applied Education, along with Pro Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Society & Health, Professor David Sines.

High-profile guests at the Colloquium included speakers Andy Mattin, Director of Operations and Nursing, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, and Professor Christine Norton, Professor of Nursing at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Kings College London. Dan Kennedy, Deputy Director of Services from the London Borough of Hillingdon, also presented.

For the next phase, the project is now seeking a second round of local NHS Trusts and social care organisations to connect to a second group of students. An ‘engagement day’ takes place in October, where interested organisations will be able to meet students and become ‘hosts’.