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