This project sought to design an innovative way of delivering therapy training: working collaboratively with students and community partners to combine teaching and learning with evidence-based practice working.
Judith led the work, Liz A and Davron managed the clinical aspect, and Sheila coordinated the research element assisted by Hayley. Blanka and Liz C worked with students and community stakeholders to design new specialist spaces.
Data from the project was used systematically to review, evaluate and improve the service, with the enhancement of the student experience a priority.
Impact of work
A campus move generated the need for new, specialist facilities for Therapeutic Studies. Executive and corporate departments were convinced to support an integrated teaching and clinical space by research and a space management and timetabling exercise. Focus groups and interviews facilitated the collation of views from all stakeholders including the students as learners and trainee clinicians in the same space.
This resulted in the ‘Kegie Centre for Therapies’, which has contributed to the recognition of the campus as a vocational hub and to the regeneration of the city. It has led to increased employability of graduates, both within its own services and in a wide range of local, national and international organisations.
Students and service users are part of each other’s learning experience. Students gain additional skills and some graduates return to deliver training. One graduate has won a bursary and set up a new ‘Singing for Breathing’ service for clients. Others have gained employment in international settings. Service users report developing an enhanced sense of self-worth through knowing that they are also contributing to trainee therapists’ learning.
Plans for the future
Dissemination of the project and the collaborative approach that has enabled it has included a video, a website http://www.southwales.ac.uk/therapies/ using staff, students, service users and partners, internal and external presentations and publications. Its profile was significantly enhanced at the recent public opening where the Welsh Government’s advisor for therapies presided. The next steps are to disseminate their collaborative approach internally by embedding a student partnership approach across other disciplines and into USW policy, and at national conferences in the education and health arenas.
University of South Wales