Young Researchers working for great outcomes at BCH

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“When we initially put the YRE programme together, we did so with the aim of making it useful for any environment,” says Sarah Burgess, UFA Director of Learning. “The programme is designed to equip its participants with a flexible toolkit of skills that they can then take into the world, adapt and apply – with real, solid and useful outcomes at the end of it.”

The UFA has a long history of working with Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital on staff engagement and training programmes for Aspire@BCH, so they were the natural choice when the hospital wanted to put together a programme for their Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) to help them develop their leadership and research skills.

YPAG’s main aim is to get young people involved and ‘making a difference’ at the hospital. Many of the members have been, or are currently, patients themselves. It’s a mixture of fun and hard work that ultimately enables young people to take responsibility for decisions that affect the way health services are designed and delivered.

What approaches were used?

Young Researchers and Evaluators


What Participants Say

“When the young researchers presented their findings and recommendations to senior staff at the hospital one of the recommendations was for young people to get involved in more research - a great accolade to the benefits of the course. The project not only developed their research skills but helped young people to see the connection between research and the difference it can make to care delivery as well as promoting team working and personal development.

“I would highly recommend the course to any young people who want to build on their research and leadership skills and make a difference for themselves and others -it really is worthwhile!”

Janette Vyse, Lead Nurse for Patient Experience, BCH

The Training

The training took the form of a residential weekend in the Forest of Dean, funded by Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital Charities.  Twelve young people from YPAG came along, and as well as the usual YRE curriculum, which introduced them to the language and tools of evaluation, they also enjoyed outdoor adventure activities, with the aim of encouraging teambuilding and negotiation skills.

Sarah Burgess was the facilitator on this programme; “The young people worked really hard into the wee hours to decide their research questions,” she says. “I don’t think I have ever worked with a more highly-focussed, committed group of young people.”

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The Research

As their skills progressed, the group was asked to come up with two things they’d like to explore in the light of the Francis report, (which identified huge failings at Stafford Hospital).

Two far-reaching research questions were ultimately identified:

  1. What makes ‘excellent’ care?
  2. What is compassion and how is it shown?

A range of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were then devised, with three main sources of information – patients, parents and staff, chosen in order to get a full range of views.

Methods of data collection included:

  • A focus group – Tea@3 parent event
    • Questionnaires – for patients and parents, which were collected off the wards.
    • A graffiti board – staff were asked to use Post-it notes and write a response to the question – What makes excellent care?

The Results

When the results came in and were processed, the report showed:

There was a very clear correlation between those who reported ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ care and those who also reported significant ‘kindness and respect’ and being ‘well informed and involved in their care’ – this might suggest that these are relevant aspects linked to excellence in care.

This raised further questions about a correlation between those who indicated  ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ care (9 respondents) and those who reported ‘never’ or ‘sometimes’ having concerns or worries about their care (9 respondents).

There was also the question here as to whether ‘excellent care’ means ‘not having any worries’, rather than ‘having worries dealt with effectively’. There was one parent who felt they ‘always’ had concerns and worries, this parent reported that the quality of care was ‘mixed.’

What makes excellent care image

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