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Research Partners & Studies

The University of Otago

In 2015, we partnered with the Dean of the Dunedin Medical School, Professor Barry Taylor and Associate Professor Ralph Pinnock in developing a tool to measure medical student wellbeing.

Using co-design principles we ran focus groups with medical students on how they would like to report their wellbeing, and what was most important for them. These focus groups then informed the design of the project. The students were happy to give information to the Medical School about their wellbeing and experiences, but on the strict condition that it was 100% anonymous, and safe for them to do so. They also said that an App was a great way to collect this information. Paper based surveys were too time consuming, online surveys also had concerns about being ‘completely anonymous’, and they most definitely didn’t want to use the University’s online platform. They requested an App without a log-in so that they could, at any time or location, update how they were feeling. They wanted the App to be administered by Chnnl as a safe intermediary that ensured their anonymity and concerns were taken seriously, and relayed back to those who could make changes.

We ran the project with 4th, 5th and 6th year medical students and had a 77% response rate in the daily wellbeing survey. The results from the project informed the Medical School leadership to make changes to improve the environment to promote wellbeing. One example of a change was the students in Invercargill, a rural placement, all noted poor sleep on this placement. This prompted a review of the student accommodation in Invercargill which was converted from the old Nurses’ quarters. Small changes in the accommodation meant a big improvement in the sleep and overall wellbeing of the medical students.

“Sometimes it is hard to know that you are actually quite stressed out”

- 4th Year medical student participant

We undertook a feasibility study of the App with our senior medical students and found the insights useful for understanding what contributed to students' wellbeing.

- Professor Barry Taylor,
Dean of Dunedin Medical School, Otago University

Counties Manukau DHB

In February 2018 we launched a one year feasibility study at the Department of General Surgery, Middlemore Hospital. After the first initial meetings, it was decided to open the project to include all new graduate nurses in CMDHB and to enrol all Resident Medical Officers as they rotate through general surgery. There were 67 new graduate nurses, with 52 successfully recruited into the study. Every quarter (3 monthly) a new group of Resident Medical Officers attended an orientation to the general surgery department. They were asked to participate in the study and we had a 95% sign up rate.

“Data from the App has helped my understanding what is really going on for our nurses, both from work and personal issues, and has enabled me to provide the right support to our department.”

- Belinda Williams, Nurse Educator,
General Surgery, CMDHB

“I had an idea on how to improve handover between ED and the wards and my manager brought it up in a meeting – I was chuffed because I am always too scared to speak up in group meetings.”

- New Graduate Nurse,
Emergency Department

“Our house officers were unanimous in their decision to be involved and participate in this project. Those house surgeons who used it found it very helpful.

- Ms Jenny Wagener,
General Surgeon, Medical Education Supervisor PGY1, General Surgery, Counties Manukau DHB. 

Dunedin Hospital

The project at Dunedin Hospital was set in the cardiology wards, coronary care unit and catheter lab. This involved all staff in the unit – nurses, cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, receptionists, cleaners, and medical and nursing students. The project ran for 12 weeks and was well received by the staff, however the management failed to implement the changes that staff were raising. We were able to publish the data from this study in the British Medical Journal and this article currently in press. We learnt a lot from this project, and have been able to incorporate changes into the App design and onboarding process which has improved user experience and quality of the data. Despite staff fully engaging with the project, a shift in political climate at that time (new change of government and re-build uncertainty) means the project’s full potential isn’t yet realised. We have been contacted by staff involved indicating their interest in continuing as they found huge personal benefit.

“I felt like someone, genuinely cared about us and our experience”

-Nursing Student, Cardiology Ward,
Dunedin Hospital

“I was able to give feedback about issues that I didn’t feel that I could raise in person”

-Staff Nurse, CCU,
Dunedin Hospital

"When people are supporting each other, it not only improves the quality of the work - it reduces the probability of the bad things happening as well, so reduces the probability of error. That's because if you feel safe to work with each other, you feel okay to tell each other when things are about to go wrong." 

- Professor Tim Wilkinson, Director of the MBChB programme, Professor in Medicine and Associate Dean, Consultant Geriatrician, CAPLE team researcher, University of Otago