Mechanisms of Improvement
Medical Students as Agents of Change: A qualitative exploratory study of student and staff experiences
The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and experiences of medical students and their mentors after undertaking quality improvement projects within the healthcare setting, and if such practice-based experiences were an effective way of building improvement capacity and changing practice.
What this research explored
A qualitative interpretive description methodology, using focus groups with medical students and semi-structured interviews with academic and clinical mentors following completion of students’ 4-week quality improvement projects was adopted.
The findings indicate that there are a range of facilitators and barriers to undertaking and completing quality improvement projects in the clinical setting, such as time-scales, differing perspectives, roles and responsibilities between students and multidisciplinary healthcare professionals.
What this study adds
This study has demonstrated that quality improvement experiential learning can develop knowledge and skills among medical students and transform attitudes towards quality improvement. Furthermore, it can also have a positive impact on clinical staff and healthcare organisations. Despite inherent challenges, undertaking quality improvement projects in clinical practice enhances knowledge, understanding and skills, and allows medical students to see themselves as important influencers of change as future doctors.
Benefits and impact
- The benefits of incorporating students into quality improvement teams:
- for teams;
- for students.
This project was led by Professor Peter Davey, Medical School Lead for Clinical Quality Improvement, University of Dundee, in conjunction with colleagues from the School of Medicine and School of Health Sciences at the University of Dundee and staff and students within NHS Tayside.
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