The Impact of Patient Identity on Healthcare Delivery

Case study authors: Glenn Hussey, Trish Procter & Rebecca Harrison

School of Life Science, Faculty of Natural Sciences

CDF Framework: Authentic Assessment, Employability and Civic Engagement, Global Perspectives

Project Summary

Second year Biomedical Science students are tasked to consider how patient identity - for example race, gender and culture - can impact their engagement and interaction with healthcare provision. We offer a few background workshops to help students identify key examples such as the effect of being transgender on the interpretation of Biochemistry results or patient's views of Western versus more traditional medicine. Students then work in small groups of around 6 to explore this theme, aiming to raise awareness of related issues. This culminates in the submission of a prerecorded group presentation that is designed to mimic a typical training course that could be delivered as part of the NHS Induction for new staff. The group presentation has an element of peer assessment and each student also submits an individual justification explaining why they chose their particular content and delivery style. When designing this assessment, we carefully considered Keele's curriculum design framework, particularly the elements relating to authentic assessment, social learning and digital education.

This project was principally designed in response to Keele University's goal to Decolonise the Curriculum (DTC). The assessment is just one example of how we integrate DTC into our programmes, challenging students to consider how this may affect their discipline. We particularly wanted to challenge the preconception that we do not have a problem because Biomedical Science is a naturally diverse curriculum, focusing on universal issues such as disease, metabolism etc. However, we wanted to demonstrate that a diverse curriculum is not necessarily the same as an inclusive one and that inequality still pervades.

We introduced this assessment during 2020/21 - the Covid year. We have been particularly pleased how well it translated onto the online, Teams-based platform providing a digital space that promotes student collaboration and engagement, enhancing their online community. The assignment promotes inclusive learning learning, global outlook and personal citizenship by raising awareness of how patient characteristics can impact their health and wellbeing through differential engagement with NHS services. The act of students then producing a training video/presentation reinforces this message, asking them to identify specific barriers, consider how to explain this complexity to others and suggest possible ways forward. Students develop skills in: digital literacy, communication, team work, reflective practice and being a critical friend.

The assessment is part of an optional module called Professional Relationships, taken by Level 5 Biomedical Science students. This module has gained increasing popularity over the last few years as we deliberately move away from more didactic teaching methods and embrace the ethos of Keele's vision for more active, social learning. We worked in partnership with local NHS Trusts to design this authentic assessment, so are confident that students will develop core employability skills.

This assessment was introduced in 2020/21 and we have not yet completed a full academic cycle. We do know that our students have engaged extremely well with the project so far. We are excited to see what they produce and how they value the assessment in module evaluations.

DTC covers global themes that we should all be striving to address within our disciplines. Asking how a person's characteristics affect how they engage with our discipline is a question we should all be asking, and on a regular basis. Wether that is as a service user, professional or educator etc. There are many different contexts for students to explore this question across different disciplines.