Study launched to improve training for healthcare professionals in the time of coronavirus

Researchers from Keele’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have launched a new study to help future healthcare professionals deliver quality care while responding to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Historically, a huge part of healthcare education on courses like nursing, midwifery, medicine, radiography, pharmacy and physiotherapy involves in-person teaching and work-based clinical placements, where students get hands-on experience of delivering quality care in a healthcare setting.

But with changes to the graduation guidelines made by governing bodies, and Government guidelines aiming to reduce contact between individuals due to a need for social distancing, learning and teaching in the Covid-19 era is very different for students and staff in the Faculty of Health.  

In response to this, and to ensure that students can continue to provide excellent healthcare after they graduate, researchers in the Faculty have launched a new faculty research theme focusing on health professionals education.

The first initiative arising as part of this new research theme is a study focused on the learning and teaching methods being used in the era of social distancing, and which methods work well for both teachers and students.

Led by Dr Natalie Cope, Dr Alice Moult and Dr Janet Lefroy, the results of the research will inform efforts to give all students the appropriate opportunities to develop their clinical skills and give them the experience needed to become safe and effective clinical practitioners upon graduation, and to meet the requirements of the governing body of their profession.  

Interviews for the study commenced in August, and the researchers aim to interview 49 students in the clinical years of study, and 37 teachers on undergraduate health professions courses across the Faculty. It is hoped that the results will be of interest to providers of health professions education across the globe.  

Dr Cope said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges in educating our students on clinical courses which previously had significant face-to-face classroom and placement learning. This study will help us to understand how and why teaching strategies in the social-distancing era are working for students and teaching staff. It will enable educators to improve their programmes and help towards preparing our students for clinical practice on graduation.”