Rebecca Owen – Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care graduate, Rachel has gone on to a rewarding job as a Deputy Manager at Aspiris.

What do you find most fulfilling about your role? 

I have been working in residential childcare management for almost a year. It can be extremely challenging but also rewarding. Having children come into your care from a background of abuse or neglect can be emotionally difficult, but the staff team work together to provide positive fulfilling moments and nurture.

It’s these moments and seeing the difference you make to these young people life’s that enable you to come to work every day.

It’s these moments and seeing the difference you make to these young people life’s that enable you to come to work every day.

Rebecca owen

What are some of the challenges that you face day-to-day in this sector? 

COVID has caused further pressure on an already stretched sector. Young people have not been able to access support or help. This has had a detrimental impact on their well-being. These young people already face huge challenges in their lives by being in care, COVID has definitely added to that.

How has your time on the Health and Social Care degree helped prepare you for your new role? (this might be careers advice, interview tips, placements, simulation experiences etc.) 

Confidence.  Doing presentations has allowed me to find my voice and have the confidence to speak up. This has allowed me to advocate for Young people, in multidisciplinary meetings.

Where do you hope this job will take you career-wise? 

I’m currently working towards being a registered manager.

As someone who is now working, what advice would you have for HSC graduates venturing into the workplace?

I started my current position as Deputy Manager with only childcare experience, not residential care. I researched the legislation and policies. I also built a network of people who work in the sector, which was very useful with interview tips and advice.

I treated my research like a uni essay, so the information gained was retained to memory. I also did voluntary work within the community, became a student mentor and course representative. This improved my skillset further and allowed my confidence within my own abilities to grow.

I would definitely advise anyone leaving uni to do the same. Build a network of people, research the skills, legislation and policies. Improve your skillset, beyond academic skills and really drive for what you want.

Tamara Booth – Health and Social Care

Health and Social Care graduate, Tamara is currently working as a Social Group Coordinator/Manager at Sense.

Tamara Booth
Tamara Booth – Health and Social Care

I secured a position as a group management coordinator, for a charity called Sense after I completed my Health and Social Care degree at Staffordshire University. 

My role is to work very closely alongside other agencies, such as the local authority, social services, and schools where we develop and design comprehensive short break packages for children with additional needs or disabilities.  

Day to day challenges can be things such as securing funding for the children and their families we support. Due to Covid this has caused a huge impact to the funding that’s available.     

Also, I now manage a team of around 25 staff, which comes with its own set of challenges!  

The work we do makes a huge difference to the families and children we support who are often stigmatised and marginalised by society.  

The work I do is exceptionally fulfilling, knowing I have made a difference to one family or child, helping them gain the support they desperately need is a wonderful feeling. 

Throughout my time at university, the modules we covered such as leadership and management, counselling, and communication skills helped prepare my for my role. These modules gave me a comprehensive insight into the rapidly expanding and ever changing environment that is Health and Social Care.   

Any advice I would give to any students studying Health and Social Care would be: gain as much experience in as many different sectors as you can. Your degree is extremely vast, and covers many different sectors, so do not limit yourself.

Tamara booth

Any advice I would give to any students studying Health and Social Care would be: gain as much experience in as many different sectors as you can. Your degree is extremely vast, and covers many different sectors, so do not limit yourself. I never envisaged myself working within the charity sector, I originally wanted to work with offenders. However, when we did our work experience module I worked with children with additional needs and found I gained a real sense of achievement and felt like I made a positive difference.   

The confidence and knowledge I gained at university wouldn’t of been possible without the support and encouragement that I received from my tutors, namely Ana and Matt, who never wavered in their support of me, which I will be forever grateful. 

Nursing – The ‘5-stage’ approach

International Nurses Day 2021 focuses on ‘A vision for future healthcare’. School Lead for Simulation and Patient Safety, Emily Browne talks about the ‘5-stage’ approach to training for student nurses at Staffordshire University. 

In 2019 we ran several interprofessional simulation events for our nursing and paramedic students involving clinical practitioners (Drs and ACPs from partner trusts). One of the interesting findings from this was the nursing students apprehension about taking part in simulation but also their realisation of its benefits and increased confidence levels after the simulation.

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Activism through lived experience; A ground breaking new anti-poverty degree from Staffordshire University

Staffordshire University is a Civic University and this new degree is an exciting new way to join us, learn and study with us tackling poverty head on from the start!

Poverty has risen statistically and in the public’s awareness. Recent public campaigns from Marcus Rashford focussing on food poverty have raised awareness, as have research around the disproportionate effect that Covid has had on lower income populations. We can talk about food poverty, fuel poverty or data poverty but lets be clear – poverty is poverty. We can call it by another name but living in poverty is about poorer health outcomes, poorer educational opportunities and most fundamentally its about poorer opportunities to speak out, to be heard and to be listened to.

This new degree came from the idea of finding what Ruth Lister describes as voice – space for people with lived experience of poverty. The term lived experience is a spiky one and can critiqued as tokenism – another buzz word, its not. At is core, the term lived experience is actually about voice and recognising knowledge and expertise comes in valuable lived forms. Academic knowledge is only one form of knowing; emotional, experiential and practical knowing is a valuable form of expertise. It is time that academic institutions recognise knowledge in all its forms, Staffordshire University is seeking to just this in its new degree; Action on Poverty and Hardship.

The idea behind the degree is that its co-produced with local and national partners, that it is framed around valuing the knowledge gained by lived experience of poverty and in its practical activism it seeks to challenge epistemic injustice.

In centring this new degree around practical activism with voluntary and community sector partners, in holding at its core the knowledge held in lived experience this new degree seeks to be something a bit special, a unique combination of activism and knowledge sharing, learning and teaching in collaboration with students in anti-poverty projects.

Students that join us will be supported and nurtured to engage in local change making, learning in partnership with voluntary sector organisations. Students will have the opportunity to undertake practical work based learning challenges, reflect in portfolios on their trauma informed anti-oppressive practice and learn about poverty from a mixture of experts by experience and academic activists

Our vision is that these students will shape the course alongside our voluntary sector steering group made up of; leading research institutions, high profile think tanks and local anchor institutions in Stoke on Trent. Graduates of this course will start their journey as anti-poverty activists, taking on leadership roles within the voluntary sector and ultimately shape both local and national anti-poverty agendas.

Dr Katy Goldstraw BA (Hons) MSc Phd pgchpe FHEA FRSA, Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care

Profile: Hannah Barcroft (Health and Social Care)

Hannah Barcroft

Health and Social Care graduate, Hannah talks about her student and university experience, her valuable work experience in a local care home and why health and social care is so important to society.

What inspired you to choose a degree in Health and Social Care?

I already studied the course at my local college and I wanted to continue to study this at university as the more knowledge and skills that I had, the more that I could apply these within the workplace. Another thing that inspired me was the content of the course. In the third year I saw that I could study a topic of my choice which I was looking forward to as I always wanted to do my own research in a topic that was close to my heart.

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Paramedic collaborates with local charity to promote CPR awareness

Staffordshire University has teamed up with a local charity to produce a new video highlighting how prompt defibrillation could save a person’s life.

The Heart of Weston was founded in memory of Chris and Steve Phillips, who tragically died of cardiac arrest, aged 28 and 29 respectively.

The charity raises awareness of Young Sudden Cardiac Death and promotes CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) cardiac screening to help reduce the risk of young people dying suddenly and unexpectedly – 12 young people die of a cardiac arrest in the UK every week. It campaigns to maintain a defibrillator situated at Weston Village Hall, the brothers’ home village, as well as providing CRY cardiac screening for 14-35, year-olds, ECGs for adults and basic first aid training.

The video features Paramedic Science, Course Leader Tim Davies (Pictured below).

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Karley Duffield – Tanzania Fundraising

Two Kalms and a squirt of my rescue remedy mouth spray and I was ready to tackle the 3 planes from Manchester all the way to Kilimanjaro. The somewhat excessive use of over the counter anti-anxiety medication was not only because I am a terrible flyer but also to help me ease the stress of knowing when that plane landed in Kilimanjaro and my volunteering began, I would officially be a third-year adult nursing student.

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Preparing for an Interview for a Health and Social Care Course

The word ‘interview’ can be quite scary and intimidating but don’t worry; our brilliant and friendly staff are here to put you at ease.

Our interviewing and selection days are designed to make sure that students have the right values and a strong desire to work within the healthcare industry; whether you want to be a nurse, operating department practitioner, midwife, paramedic or social worker.

It’s often a requirement by a governing or regulatory body that prospective students have a face-to-face interview but at Staffordshire University, these will be short, informal chats to talk about why you want to study your chosen course, why you want to work in the profession and why you want to come to join us here at Staffs. The questions are values-based and are not intended to trip you up.

To make sure you’re as relaxed as possible and can answer all the questions thoroughly, it’s a good idea to do some research before you come along to the interview. For example, if you want to study nursing (adult, child or mental health), take a look at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) website to read about the code of conduct and what’s expected of a nurse. You could also look at current industry news or issues and research into how the health and social care system works.

Make sure you do some research on Staffordshire University and the course you’d like to study. Be clear about WHY you want to become a health and social care professional; what do you know about the role and responsibilities that would be expected of you in the career you want to go into?

Don’t forget to sell yourself! This is your chance to explain why you deserve a university place here with us so be confident and passionate. Have you got any work experience? Even if it’s not in a clinical or care setting, other part time jobs that you’ve had can use skills that can be related to your chosen course and career, such as dealing with the public

Finally, don’t forget to be yourself – good luck and we look forward to meeting with you soon!

Our Child Nursing Lecturer, Keeley Guest, explains more about the process and what to expect…

“We made something happen”

A practical initiative responding to drivers for change and transformation in Digital and Technology Enabled Health and Social Care.

This is a true story about transformation in the NHS in Staffordshire. It’s a tale of how project innovation alongside a desire to deliver a challenging vision resulted in “something happening on December 19th 2018” that looks set to secure a foundation for Technology Enabled Care Services and Digitally Enabled Care becoming an everyday reality for local people. Why should this be interesting? Put simply Technology Enabled and Digitally Enabled Care offers a new way to maintain person centred health and social care while making potentially one of the biggest contributions to the future sustainability of our health and social care system. NHS England said of TECS in 2015 “Technologies such as telehealth, telecare, telemedicine, telecoaching and self-care apps have the potential to transform the way people engage in and control their own healthcare, empowering them to manage it in a way that is right for them”.

So the advent of Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) is not new but the promise of widespread and sustained application of TECS has not yet been realised in Staffordshire. That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been progress, there have been some terrific Staffordshire initiatives and projects which have had national and even international recognition, it’s more that where there is implementation in health (including General Practice) and social care settings it has been hard won and the commonplace application of TECS is not yet a reality. The rapid development in “Digital” has created a new environment for the introduction of TECS in health and social care simply because becoming digital opens up access to more and more of the population and importantly more and more practitioners.

So how did the “Something that happened” start? There are two key players in this story ……

One of those nationally recognised projects mentioned above is an NHS Pathfinder project managed by The Good Things Foundation through Stoke on Trent CCG which set out to explore the attitudes of local people towards Digital Health. Led by Dr Ruth Chambers OBE, Staffordshire STPs Clinical Lead for TECS programme, Digital Workstream and Visiting Professor Staffordshire University and honorary Professor Keele University, the “GTF Project” ran in 2018 which concluded that by and large local people were receptive to the introduction of Technology and Digitally Enabled Care and wanted if not demanded to know more about what was available and supported by the NHS and Social Care – and here is an important bit, in many more cases than expected local people were already utilising Health and self-help Apps without any involvement of the NHS or Social Care so outside of any Health and Social Care plan.   Ruth and the small project team were doing what all good projects do – trying their hardest to get the findings disseminated and learning applied.


Then there was a conversation with Dr Ann Ewens, Dean of the School of Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University.  

Ann had a challenge. The University aim to be a leading Digital organisation and Ann is committed to ensuring the School of Health and Social Care plays its part in securing that aim. Alongside this University aim, Ann and her team are important University contributors to the Staffordshire Deal which is a partnership and plan for a connected and digital county. It that has a principal objective to “Improve Health and Social Care, reducing health inequalities and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities through applied research to enable innovation in service delivery’’   While it needed a couple of conversations over a couple of hours, Ann and Ruth came to a shared position that working together – and doing so quickly – they could support each other’s ambitions to see learning applied and real change secured. Ruth and her team were to bring their experiences and findings from the GTF project and their wider experiences in the TECS area to the lecturer team at the School of Health and Social Care.  

In truth for the importance and scale of what was attempted Ann and Ruth got there quickly with a minimum of fuss and at a minimum cost – and it is worth outlining why.  They started with understanding Ruth’s desire to cascade and share the findings of the GTF Pathfinder project and Ann’s imperative to drive the ambitions of the University. They found real complementarity in the experiences of Ruth’s team and the needs of Ann’s team in meeting the future needs of the School of Health and Social Care graduates that suggested they must work together. They picked out where there was convergence in their aims around which they could explore the possible, rather than trying to create an idealistic common aim. In transformation work there is often a focus on differences that need to be overcome rather than on complimentary areas that can be built on.

Their approach was truly opportunistic as rather than create a specific new initiative they chose to build on what was happening and planned already and set out to add measurable value by sharing learning and what it means for future practice.  In that lies the shared ambition.  Ann has commented that from the outset she and Ruth set out to do the right thing which to onlookers at the time might not have seemed to be doing it right! Yes there was risk.

For Ruth and the team the risk was that the value in the learning gained from working with the public and practitioners about technology and digital applications in health and social care would not be recognised as having relevance in the context of the pressure to successfully deliver for learners a complex curriculum. Failing to show the relevance and importance of technology and digital applications would hold back bringing innovation into everyday health and social care practice.   For Ann and her team the risk was considerable as a double jeopardy applied. If the opportunity was missed to secure a common and shared understanding of the technology and digital imperative in health and social care the School might fall behind the emerging needs of the sector.

The scene was set. It was late November, Ann had arranged already a team away day on the 19th December and she decided to give 3 hours of that event over to a workshop to be led and delivered by Ruth’s team. To put this into context Ann has only two team “away days” a year so to put half the day aside for this “transformational” element reflected Ann’s confidence in Ruth and her team and the messages they intended to share.

Ruth and Ann quickly established a partnership approach committing members of their teams to pull the workshop together. Invitations to support the design of the event and its delivery went to the Local Authorities and the CCG clinical team – invitations that were accepted. The team:

Dr Ann Ewens                    Dean, Staffordshire University

Dr Ruth Chambers            Clinical Lead, Stoke on Trent CCG, Staffordshire STP and GTF lead

Mike Phillips                      Associate Dean, Staffordshire University

Teresa McGougan             Strategic Improvement Lead Nursing and Patient Care, Stoke on Trent CCG

Peter Ball                           Telecare and Physical Disability Services Manager, Stoke on Trent City Council

Lisa Morgan                       Administrator, Staffordshire University

Chris Chambers                 Telehealthcare Facilitator, Stoke on Trent CCG

Dave Sanzeri                      GTF team and Event Facilitator

The brief was clear – 3 hours, lots to get through so keep on topic, make it interesting and engaging and, because of the constraints of the venue, no Powerpoint. Ruth and Ann intended there would be shared ownership of what they saw by then as a flagship initiative with a clear shared understanding of the design of the event and what the expected outcomes would be.  The workshop aim and 4 objectives were agreed as:

  1. To update the School of Health & Social Care academic teams to the importance of including digital delivery of care as an essential element in every undergraduate and postgraduate course or degree.
  2. To appreciate Staffordshire’s strategic imperative for digital health and care to contribute to clinical and financial sustainability of the future NHS and the scale and pace of social drivers for development
  3. To explore and prepare for the impact of digital delivery on healthcare pathways, models of care and Practice
  4. To develop an understanding of the expectation for quality assurance in technology enabled and assisted care

The School of Health and Social Care identified the workshop outcome was to be:

Commitment to action and the creation of a digitally ready workforce in the NHS and social care who embrace technology enabled care services and develop an understanding and positive approach to digital inclusion of patients/carers and the public in relation to health conditions and adverse lifestyle habits.

There wasn’t an undue focus on structure and content beyond managing time constraints and would what was planned get the delegates to shared understanding and deliver the outcome anticipated. The workshop team put together a 3 hour programme based on 5 sessions each with a short introduction to set the scene and put a challenge to the delegates where their responses and conclusions influenced how long each session lasted and how the next or following session would need to adapt to what had already been contributed by the delegates – an unbelievably flexible and intuitive approach to doing things only possible because of the openness Ann and Ruth engendered and the trust they developed between their teams.  A lot of thought was given to the facilitation of the event, it was agreed a member of Ruth’s team would act as single facilitator with a key responsibility to make the transitions between sessions seamless bringing together the contributions made by the delegates as the sessions progressed. This might sound a bit twee – but think of all the initiatives where event planning has been the focus of endeavour, with sweat and indeed tears being shed and where stake holding has got in the way as the design of the event and managing for every eventually has been important rather than successful inclusive delivery being the measure of success.

To deliver, while there had to be clarity and certainty about the nature and significance of the learning under the GTF understanding the delegates to the event and their needs in introducing any technology or digital themes into the curriculum was paramount. Colleagues at The School of Health and Social Care at Staffordshire University were described as having a rich and diverse variety of professional backgrounds.  Those teaching on health-related programmes having clinical experience as nurses, midwives, paramedics and Operating Department practitioners.  The academics in the Social Work and Social Welfare team represent the professions working to improve the welfare of local and indeed regional citizens and beyond – many of them are Social Workers or Welfare Advisors in the voluntary sector by background.  Academic colleagues were described as responsible for delivering the most contemporaneous knowledge, clinical skills and practices in order to equip graduates with the ability to perform safely and effectively in their professional roles upon graduation.  They design and bring together the component parts of the curricula against which students are taught and assessed.  To be effective it is essential, therefore, that this wide and diverse workforce themselves feel confident in their knowledge of evolving trends in practice including technology and digital assisted practice.  The planned initiative involving Ruth and her team was timely as colleagues with the School had begun to discuss how they could ensure that they could respond to the increasing demand from their students about the utilisation of digital technologies.  Ruth and Ann understood that the School of Health and Social Care team were ideally placed given their rich mix of interactions and involvement with not just students but NHS and healthcare partners, service users and carers and other key stake holders to bring forward the introduction and integration of TECS and digital into planning and practice.  The strategic place the University team holds in Staffordshire was clear including this talented team of academics and experienced tutors have influence over the skill-set that graduates will have on entering into the workplace of a modern NHS and Social Care system.

Making Something Happen in Staffordshire was to prove timely. To help set the context and to provide a frame of reference illustrating the relevance and pertinence of “Making Something Happen” it is worth referring to the latest review in this field published in February 2019 “The Topol Review” – Eric Topol MD, in a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on release of The Topol Review says:

“We (the review) offer a number of recommendations for you to consider. These will require early implementation by education providers, as well as by arm’s-length bodies and employers on behalf of the NHS, if we are to gain the benefits these digital healthcare technologies offer.” (page 7)

The review goes onto to say:

“Our review of the evidence leads us to suggest that these technologies will not replace healthcare professionals, but will enhance them (‘augment them’), giving them more time to care for patients. Some professions will be more affected than others, but the impact on patient outcomes should in all cases be

positive. Patients will be empowered to participate more fully in their own care”. (Page 9)

“With patients placed firmly at the centre of our discussions, this report is the culmination of an extensive literature review, interviews, expert meetings and round tables. We had an overwhelming response to the call for evidence from individuals and organisations, with responses from hundreds of patient representatives, professional groups, industry, education, regulators and national bodies. ……… Within 20 years, 90% of all jobs in the NHS will require some element of digital skills. Staff will need to be able to navigate a data-rich healthcare environment. All staff will need digital and genomics literacy.” (Page 9).

Section 9.3 of the review (Supporting Educators) seems apposite to this local initiative to Make Something Happen reflecting the foresight of Ann and her team and referencing the experience of Ruth and her team:

“Educational leaders and educators, including quality improvement experts, are critical to driving a new learning culture. For these leaders to be truly transformational and deliver on their responsibilities, the NHS needs to support them to embrace culture change. This may include specific experiential learning within external companies who are engendering the culture the NHS is aiming to achieve. Given the pace of change, educators must be reflective in their approach, not only engaging in ongoing learning, but developing and adapting their educative practice through innovative ways to meet new and future challenges. ……….

Champions should be encouraged to share their knowledge and experience. Evidence highlights the

benefits of networks within and across organisations that enable collaborative and guided learning. The primary care ‘digital nurse champions’ is a good example [R. Chambers et al., ‘You too can be a digital practice nurse champion’, Practice Nurse, June 2018.] (Page77)

In the review section 5.0 “Digital Medicine”, there are statements that mirror the conclusions Ruth and her team have drawn in driving TECS within Staffordshire and regionally / nationally:

“New digital technologies have the potential to transform how the NHS delivers care in the decades to come, for example, through faster and more reliable diagnosis of infectious diseases, empowerment of patients to monitor and manage their long-term conditions, promotion of health and wellbeing           through personalised apps, and the delivery of care outside of traditional healthcare settings through remote monitoring………….. To realise the full benefits of digital medicine, the NHS will need to develop senior managers capable of leading on the digital agenda. Time and opportunity to increase the digital skills of the current workforce will be required, as will the ability to attract much needed up-to-date digital expertise. Equally, citizens, patients and families will have a pivotal role to play. Patient activism………. exemplifies a growing trend in empowered patients demanding and taking greater control over their own care. Tackling digital exclusion while supporting the workforce to develop new skills and practices will be essential to ensure access and adoption across all socio-economic groups.            Increased patient and public education programmes, as well as practical facilitation, will be needed to ensure that digital technologies do not increase health inequalities”. (Page 47).

“The Topol Review, Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future, An independent report on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.” February 2019.

The workshop design (Delivery time 3 hours):

Session development objective

Facilitator role / contribution

Participant activity / contribution

Ice breaker

Introduction – Ann’s team

Transition to workshop – thanks to CCG and GTF – Ruth’s team

Challenge during feedback “Will it take till 2030”

Table exercise (self selected groups)

What will your home look like in 2030?


Table feedback – by addition / challenge to prior feedback

Participants will be able to identify and discuss the place and potential of digitally enabled and / or technology enabled services in the delivery of modern and sustainable health and social care.

2 x presentations to introduce:

NHS imperative and public driven demand

Social Care challenge and need for change

Facilitator roaming. Facilitator (& table leads) encourage participation

“Consequence mapping and visioning”

Table exercise: (self selected groups)

Odd groups – what if we embrace TECS / Digital?

Even groups – what if we do nothing?


Table feedback – summarise a case for change?

Participants will be able to discuss and scope the introduction of TECS and Digital into health and social care pathways including the adoption of technology enabled services into care planning and commissioning

2 x presentations to introduce TECS / Digital

… in self management and prevention

… in diagnosis, treatment and monitoring and rehab, recovery and maintaining independence


Facilitator roaming. Facilitator (& table leads) encourage participation

“Elderly Care Pathway mapping” (STP example)

Table exercise (constructed cross discipline groups)

Identify points in pathway to introduce TECS

List changes in practice – practice enhancements

Risks to be managed with mitigation actions


Groups present pathway, challenges, risks and mitigations (as team)

Participants will be state the issues for organisations and individual practitioners in quality assurance, continuous professional development and the realisation of patient and client expectations with the assimilation of TECS / Digital into health and social care.

1 x presentation to introduce:


IT skills are not digital competences and knowledge requirements reflect this


Facilitator roaming. Facilitator (& table leads) encourage participation

“Quality in a digital age”

Table exercise (Mixed discipline groups)

(1) Support the statement “Our graduates are fully prepared” or “Our graduates are not at all prepared” to integrate TECS and digitally enabled care into their practice

(2) How should course content develop to ensure that graduates are prepared for and can work to quality measures appropriate for a digital age.

(3) How can the University develop graduates and support post graduates in TECS / Digital in their CPD strategies.


Group feedback – emphasis to be placed on action?

Open Forum (10 – 15 minutes)



Panel of all presenters and facilitator


Transition to rest of development day

Q & A on next steps:

Corporate actions?

Individual actions?

Engagement of organisations?

Engagement of students / learners / practitioners?


It is always difficult to report on a workshop or similar event as, when they are run well, the value for participants is in “being there” with the benefit coming from the interactions with colleagues while they share the experience of learning together with secondary value and benefit arising from the content of presentations or a copy of any slides.

This workshop in “Making Something Happen” stimulated an energy in the delegates and grabbed their attention to a such a degree that far outweighed anything expected or hoped for during the design and planning of the event. This energy and attention was reflected in the level of participation and the quality of delegate exercises that built on short but high quality scene setting introductions. The format throughout relied on posing questions and challenges to the delegates encouraging open and unrestrained dialogue that was tightly facilitated so that table groups reached conclusions – yet committed to continue the debate in later university forums.  

The level of participation was noteworthy, with competition on and between tables as delegates made their contributions and this high level of participation was sustained throughout the event.  There was a vibrancy and energy which in part came from the way the event was designed – and so its relevance to the participants was evident to them.  In this they were completely engaged, the level of challenge was excellent and thoughtful, the contributions coming back in the exercises was in some cases visionary and the quality of the table conversations was at a level of sophistication greater than anything imagined when the workshop was designed.  This doesn’t mean there weren’t objections – of course there were but through the flexible and intuitive way the event was delivered they were handled and contributed to the quality of the day rather than detracted from it.  There is a challenge in sharing the session conclusions and discussion contents as “you really had to be there” and the nature of the transformation secured was in the attitudes and intentions of a key University team and what this means for the training and development of the Health and Social Care graduates.

 In addition to the core of the workshop, Ruth arranged an opportunity for delegates to share their views and understanding from participating in the workshop. A simple form asked delegates “Just tell us, in one or two sentences, how you feel technology enabled care could make a difference to the health of service users with long term conditions”. Before the Open Forum session, one form was drawn from those submitted that won an Amazon Fire 7 tablet. The comments coming from the delegates can be grouped into key themes:

  • introducing skype or face time techniques in improving patient care and service user benefits
  • communications and digital technology allowing real time feedback and wellbeing updates from patients and service users and carers and could be harnessed for wider social interactions
  • enabling independence, self-reliance and personal responsibility within patient care and service user plans supporting an enhanced role from health and social care professionals
  • technology enabled and digitally enabled services will address exclusion while driving inclusion (addressing loneliness and isolation) and will create opportunities for a different, fairer resource allocation
  • the single personal record should become a reality directly improving integrated person-centred health and social care which is not limited to the role of professionals
  • distance techniques for monitoring (including biometrics and wellbeing indicators) would seriously improve quality and standards in care particularly in safety
  • the contribution of carers and the community and voluntary sector and private providers can be better utilised under an integrated care plan for health and social care driving a better more consistent use of resources with less in terms of crisis management and
  • be positive and life changing (breaking the links with and focus on illness and need).

There was, from the table conversations, session feedback and form entries, real time evidence that thinking was developing, knowledge was being acquired and applied and post event actions were intended. 

So did “Something Happen”? By the design and the path that led to the workshop taking place there is no pre workshop baseline to refer to or against which any changes can be assessed. It is possible though to reflect on the outcomes seen at the event:  

Recognition that TECS and digital enhanced care is an inclusive methodology and is not about separate TECS or Digital pathways;

Ruth and her team have made some progress with commissioners and NHS organisations in recognising TECS and Digital must be integrated and mainstream. Consistent with the Topol Review findings and recommendations this workshop outcome should be significant in driving the understanding and perceptions of Health and Social Care graduates.  

Inclusion in care plans is the key so it should be focussed on the needs of the individual “by design” and so be appropriate to their care – so there is an important role for those who establish the care plans with patients and users – an area of practitioner confidence and competence identified;

This is a strategically important outcome as it proves the necessity to mainstream TECS and Digital based on servicing or meeting the health and social care needs of the individual as opposed to creating TECS or Digital programmes that individuals might or might not benefit from.

There should be positive social inclusion because of utilising TECS and digital in health and social care being mindful / alert / careful that the enthusiasm for TECS and digital doesn’t inadvertently leave people behind (this social inclusion idea being counter intuitive for the delegates);

Consistent with the learning from the GTF Pathfinder Project and earlier TECS implementation projects and now the Topol Review local people are more digitally active than thought but they are not necessarily using their digital capacity and capability to support their health and social care wants and needs. This outcome recognises that while much more could be done to include health and social care in existing digital activity as TECS and Digital mainstream it will be important to ensure the limits of the infrastructure available to individuals are understood and that no patient or service user / carer gets left behind.

Who resources TECS / digital has to be confronted and clarified if practitioners are going to integrate TECS / digital into care plans?  It was recognised that commissioners, providers and users all have a part to play and the scope for things like Personal Health Budgets (PHB) hasn’t really been explored in health; and

An outcome that captures a key issue and the quandary that if TECS and Digital must be integrated, and mainstream health and social care methodology how are the resources needed to make the transition going to be released? During the workshop options including efficiency incentives and PHBs were mentioned while the consensus was that it is in this area that there is the greatest need for change and transformation.

In conclusion this event consolidated the School’s leadership view that the timing was right to start a serious conversation amongst its academics regarding the role of technology enhanced care in the delivery of future health and social care services. The learning from the event was that there is a positive appetite and enthusiasm within the academic team for embracing a new approach to embedding the development of digital literacy into the student body through a new and refreshed curriculum.

In terms of the School’s commitment to action following the workshop the following is already in process:

  • Addressing a digital theme in every future School away day
  • All new curriculum to embrace digital literacy skills development in students
  • The renewing of the focus of the School’s ‘Digital Champions’ ensuring the School now moves at pace regarding embracing a new pedagogy where digital is embedded
  • Collaborating with University colleagues and external stakeholders to support the goals of the Staffordshire Deal in terms of improving health and social care services through digitally enhanced care
  • A cross University ideation event to explore the role of the University in digital health education


David Sanzeri

Ann Ewens

Mike Phillips