Apr 172014
Kate Carnegie

Kate Carnegie

What can we learn from patients telling their story? Taking the time to ask a simple question can make all the difference.

On the evening of March 17th, Cardiff’s Ask One Question Committee representatives came together to present our findings on the patient experience.

Ask One Question is a world-wide, student-led healthcare improvement initiative, encouraging students to ask their patients: “What can I do to improve your stay?”

The event was attended by many of those involved in the creation of the new C21 course, including Professor John Bligh (Dean of Cardiff Medical School) and Matt Dunstan from the BMA.

Best Poster Presentation was won by a team of 1st and 2nd year students, and I was proud to win Best Oral Presentation!

Ask One Question team

The Ask One Question team

The patient stories that were told were a mixture of positive and not so positive, but they resonated with us all. Like this one:

I am diabetic and a week after my surgery, I was ready to eat again but I was only allowed liquid food. All that was available for me was ice cream. 
(Male, age 67)

And this:

Doctors questioned why I went home for 5 hours whilst suffering from appendicitis, I replied that it had taken eleven hours for me to be admitted onto a ward after visiting A&E. 
(Male, age 42)

The evening gave everyone the opportunity to share and reflect on patient stories like these. They showed how the simple act of reaching out to a patient can solve a lot of problems. It can make their care experience more pleasant, safe, and – in some cases – more efficient, saving time and energy for both patients and healthcare workers alike.

And with each shared method and story, it became clear that Ask One Question has the potential to become a staple part of the healthcare experience in Wales.

During his opening speech, Professor Bligh said:

direct involvement in patient experience is an integral part of professionalism as it acts as a pathway for the demonstration and expression of compassion

And so what began as a simple idea now looks to be integrated into the new C21 medical curriculum. Medical students are a valuable resource and I hope we will be able to embark on a journey of improvement by collaborating with hospital staff. Clear and open communication between staff and patients improves the healthcare experience.

The Ask about Clots campaign, for example, is encouraging patients to speak with health professionals about their risk of clots – opening up this discussion aims to allow patients and healthcare staff to work together in reducing the risk of something life-threatening.

And it’s the same with Ask One Question. We understand that when implementing change it’s crucial to consider what will have the greatest possible benefit for patients. With Ask One Question, we hope this can be achieved with simplicity, by giving people the opportunity to answer that one question – “What can I do to improve your stay?”

Katie Carnegie
Year 1 Ask One Question Campaign Leader

Follow @Ask1Q on Twitter and Like their Page on Facebook.

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