Jan 112016

a1q comp‘What can I do to improve your care today?’ is a simple question that, used by students and NHS staff, can launch meaningful conversations with patients and their families. It allows listening and learning at the frontline, and by patients sharing their personal narratives, it can result in improvements in care experiences.

We know that often patients can be considered experts in their own condition and have a powerful role as our teachers. Asking this universal question is about putting the patient at the heart of what we do – it’s about making a connection, building rapport and beginning a trusting patient-staff relationship.

That’s why I’m delighted that healthcare students in Wales are making a big difference to their patients by asking the question on placement as part of the ‘Ask One Question to Improve Patient Experience’ competition.

If you’re a healthcare student on placement, then we would love you to get involved! With guidance from your practice mentor, you can ask the question to 3-5 patients, and submit a personal reflection to the 1000 Lives Improvement Student and Educator Community.

Download the competition pack to get started. You have until 31 January 2016 to get your entry in!

Why should you enter? You’re ideally placed to put yourself in the position of a patient and we’ll also be giving up to 3 lucky winners the opportunity to attend the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Sweden, 12 to 15 April 2016 (a place is worth over £1000!).

What are others saying?

I caught up with two of our Community members, who took part on their recent placements. This is what they had to say…

Jude WatkinsJudith Watkins is an occupational therapy student. Judith said:

“What can I do to improve your care today?” is such a simple question to you and me – however it’s not so straightforward to some of the patients on our dementia ward.  Many find communication to be very difficult, requiring creative and innovative communication strategies from staff to gain a meaningful response from those we work with.

This competition has really encouraged me to explore and develop my own abilities as a student practitioner.  It has provided an opportunity for me to reflect on the development of my own professional and communication skills, and really consider how I offer opportunities to involve patients in their own care and increase their feelings of well-being.

I am really encouraged by the response that I get not only from patients but from family members and carers as well, reinforcing the concept of providing holistic and person centred care every day.


Kate CarnegieKatie Carnegie is a medical student and explained:

“Getting involved in the Ask One Question competition was really useful in terms of comparing the responses collected when different emphasis was put on the question. I found that asking more open questions and having a chat with the patients before asking them how they’re finding their care was an effective way of building rapport and gaining an honest response.

The competition was a useful means of understanding that there are many different areas for improvement, however the method required to understand what is going wrong and consequently implement change is complex. It’s important for us as students to broaden our outlook and take note of what could be change, apply this to our practice and to make this the norm for all healthcare students.”


Don’t forget you have until 31 January 2016 to get your entry in! Good luck!


Victoria Evans-Park is the lead for the Student and Educator Community. 

Keep up-to-date with 1000 Lives Improvement Student and Educator Community information by following us on Twitter and Liking the 1000 Lives Improvement Student Network Facebook page.

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