In this term, one of the assignments we had was to create a Quality Improvement Project on a subject of our choice to present to our clinical fellows. This includes identifying a problem that we notice on the wards or in surgical theatres and designing a research to find out more about the problem and an intervention to implement to improve this problem. My team were stumped for quite a while on what to choose before we settled on continuity of care. Every day we came to our surgical placement and it was difficult to keep track of who was in and remember all the doctors, so how difficult must that be for patients that may be uncomfortable, in pain or confused?
We designed a survey to collect data on patient satisfaction on the number of consultants they see on the wards and after some analysis, presented this information to our peers. It was my first proper attempt at a quality improvement project and I like the idea that staff should constantly be working to identify issues with patient care and carrying out projects to improve them.
Patients said it felt confusing to remember so many faces and having to explain their stories of how they ended up in hospital so many times to so many people. After understanding the patient view, we thought about how to change this. What are the current guidelines? What can we change? What if we adjusted rotas or blocked off particular days in a week? This project is still in its early days so it sometimes feels like a sketch for guidance before the artist starts painting, but it is slowly coming to life.
Our group is planning to continue our quality improvement project (after some finetuning with some feedback from the clinical fellows). Last year, my friend also studying medicine in the year above me completed a project like this and presented it at a national conference! It just goes to show how far you can take your own ideas at Imperial.
I think people think of medicine as cold science but actually, I think it is a pathway with lots of creativity and imagination. Honestly, I used to hate having to do coursework like this because I didn’t enjoy all the statistical analysis. After seeing how it has such an effect on the patient experience, I have changed my mind and hope to continue with quality improvement.
What topics do you hate but have changed your mind about after experiencing it some more?