What's this research all about?
The experiences of patients, service users and customers are key in educating the next generation of health and social care professionals. Accordingly, the input of ‘expert patients’ is included in the student experience at higher education institutions. This ‘Service User involvement’ is clearly a step in the right direction, but can be criticised for:
Tokenism- People are ‘brought in’ to deliver an account of their experience within the narrow terms of the professionals; this can preclude an equal partnership
Narrow Representation- It can be difficult for people to share their experiences. There are a number of obstacles preventing a fair and frank exchange of ideas. Often the bravest and most articulate provide the only customer feedback, resulting in a less than balanced knowledge base for students.
This project is designed to enable the non-verbal to find a way of sharing their thoughts, feelings and experience of services. It seeks to redress the power imbalance and, in turn, improve the education of pre-qualification professionals.
What's the plan?
The plan (as far as there is one at the moment!) is to harness the enthusiasm of some willing volunteers. We will collect together some keen students from the fields of health, education and social care along with some citizens with learning disabilities who use non-verbal communication as a primary tool, mix in some innovative theatre practitioners and analyse the interactions that come about. We have agreement to use a great theatre space and access to some helpful gadgetry and technology. We are not sure what will come about, but feel sure that the people involved will take the opportunity to learn from each other. In turn, we hope to learn from the experience and identify some teaching methods that can be replicated both here at Warwick, and further afield.
Can I get involved?
Absolutely! If this project interests you, or you have any ideas you would like to contribute - your comments would be very welcome - or drop me an e-mail. Thanks for reading my very first blog entry!