Published: 17 August 2020

Training the next generation of healthcare leaders

At Surrey, we’re training our students to advocate for their service users, identifying problems they face on a day-to-day basis and finding innovative solutions for these.

On our Innovation and Leadership module, adult nursing, child nursing, mental health nursing, midwifery and paramedic science students were asked to identify a current healthcare issue and develop an innovative solution to this, to enhance the experience of service users and carers. Working in small groups over a six-week period, students had to consider change management, leadership (styles and theories), negotiation and influencing strategies, resource management, service design within the NHS, service user involvement and teamwork.

All their work culminated in a three-minute elevator pitch, where groups showcased their ideas through a poster or short presentation. Ideas presented included a ‘Bond with Me’ app to encourage mothers to breastfeed, NHS-provided residential trips for 12-16 year olds with diabetes, nutritionally-balanced and affordable recipe cards for food banks, and reassurance and reminder stickers for people living with dementia. Students then chose their favourites, voting for the ‘best presentation’ and ‘best innovation’.

Throughout the module, students also reflected on their teamwork and leadership skills, evaluating how well they’ve worked as an inter-disciplinary team, through diary entries and a short essay.

Dr Karen Poole
Dr Karen Poole

Module leader, Dr Karen Poole, commented:

“The student’s achievements are remarkable, especially as they’ve had to embrace working in a virtual online space, responding to clinical scenarios with limited face-to-face NHS experience, due to Covid-19.“

Joshua, a first-year adult nursing student, reflected on his online learning experience, saying:

“The module was clearly set out into weeks, with more content becoming available over time. You could see all the tasks you needed to complete so you could plan your workload and get your head around it. This approach really helped me.”

Find out more about our health sciences courses

Alternatively, if you’re a business and would like to explore any of these ideas further, please contact Dr Karen Poole.

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