The idea for ‘flipping’ comes from education. It refers to the concept of students watching key content before they come to the classroom. Then when they do come together, they do so to grapple with and apply what they’ve been taught. This concept has been translated into healthcare by the CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Maureen Bisognano. Instead of ‘what’s the matter?’ the flipped question becomes, ‘what matters to you?’. Put another way, healthcare needs to move from a system that does things to patients to one that works with them to achieve best results. These flipped changes imply that we need to work differently to improve things.
Realising we needed to do things differently with the traditional research-based Master’s dissertation is where we were three years ago. In a previous BU research blog we have written how, over the years, we struggled with the relevance of this type of dissertation to professional practice, in particular social work services. That was why we designed the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work’s service improvement programme, which uses an academically robust, practice-based, service improvement methodology with a focus on professional judgement. Towards the end of this Fusion Investment Fund networking project we realised that we’d flipped research for service improvement.
Uniquely, our service improvement programme fuses service improvement focused education and research with professional practice and is now used across nearly all the School of Health and Social Care’s Master’s Framework. As a result, increasing numbers of students from a health background have been accessing the programme. Recognising our need as two social work lecturers to further understand, share and engage with the culture and strategic intent of key health organisations around the topic of service improvement, we created a series of high-level networking opportunities with organisations including:
Institute for Healthcare Improvement (Boston)
The Beryl Institute (Dallas)
The Health Foundation (London)
NHS Improving Quality (Leeds)
As well as meetings with Maureen Bisognano and Jason Wolf (President of the Beryl Institute), we followed up a number of local contacts in the UK and the US to see first-hand how their way of doing service improvement works out in practice. Therefore, as a result of this networking project, we have widened our national and international networks considerably. And yes, we submitted a peer-reviewed journal article too; yes, we’ve written 5 blogs; and yes, we’ve updated our unit guides and improved the way we teach the programme; yes, we’ve fed back what we’ve learnt to others; and yes, we’ve thought of many ideas for future research projects – in one sense, these are not the main returns of enacting a project like this. The key benefit has been the inspiration to do these things. And that has come from being willing to learn from others.
For all those on the edge of applying for a Fusion project, go for it! It’s been an inspiring few months and we’re grateful for the widening of our networks and related opportunities. We even learned how to tweet…wonders will never cease!
Dr Steven Keen
Dr Lynne Rutter