New health board initiative uses Radiography student projects for real-world improvements.
6 May 2022
Every year Cardiff University Diagnostic Radiography students carry out data collection and research as part of their third year placements within Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board. Student projects of this nature aid development of data collection and analysis skills within an evidence-based learning environment.
Kristian Worrall, a clinical lecturer at Prince Charles Hospital, had the innovative idea that these research projects could contribute to wider health board improvement projects; including utilising the data they collected to feed into larger projects.
Students suggest their own project ideas, which are then aligned to health board departmental priorities. These can range from specialised image optimisation to staff wellbeing projects. The initiative has enabled the health board to develop new creative ways of working and focus on even more effective care.
By packaging health board improvement projects with students' research, both students and the department mutually benefit from the data set the student had collected. Collecting data can be a very labour intensive, so the student data collections are a hugely important source of information for the health board.
Kristian, who has significant experience of managing improvement projects, supervises students with their data collection and analysis alongside academic research supervisors in the Cardiff University Radiography team. He says:
This improvement initiative really showcases the value that students bring to departments and the benefits of linking academia with clinical practice. We have found a resourceful way to make improvements that cover a range of topics from image optimisation to improving well-being of staff. Each project is data driven and evidence based, with the improvements helping not only patient outcomes but also the workforce.
A radiography student involved with the project says:
Carrying out my project has been a great opportunity to not only improve my knowledge of data collection and analysis, but also know that my data will be used to help patients and the health boards that have supported us through our training.
This collaboration between our radiography students and the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board is a great example of the School’s civic mission in practice: working closely with the local healthcare community, and developing our students within clinical practice. The initiative cements a positive relationship between student radiographers and clinical staff. The Professional Head of Diagnostic Radiography and Imaging, Hywel Rogers stated:
Cardiff University Diagnostic Radiography are fully committed to supporting the NHS in quality improvement. Student radiographers are given opportunities to collaborate with diagnostic radiographers, engaging in a program of service improvement, assuring quality enhancement of service that benefits patients.