Case study - Healthy Healthcarers: embedding wellbeing initiatives into the undergraduate curriculum

Title of case study/example of best practice:Healthy Healthcarers: embedding wellbeing initiatives into the undergraduate curriculum
Lead Author(s):Margaret McLafferty
Co-authors:Dr. Elaine Murray (Lecturer in Stratified Medicine, Ulster University), Natasha Brown (Research Assistant, Letterkenny Institute of Technology).
University:            Ulster University
Lead Author email
Details of the activity undertaken

With funding from SMaRteN (Student Mental Health Research Network, in the academic year 2020/21, colleagues from Ulster University engaged with undergraduate students in psychology to co-design, develop and deliver wellbeing sessions aimed at improving student wellbeing.  Academic staff, staff from Student Wellbeing at Ulster and undergraduate students worked collaboratively to identify topics/themes for inclusion, design wellbeing content and determine optimal modes of delivery. The emergent programme was evaluated using pre- and post-intervention measures.

The project lead, Dr McLafferty, is now working with Prof Saunders (Optometry), Dr Murray (Stratified Medicine) and Prof Hannon-Fletcher (Biomedical Sciences) to utilise the learning and outcomes from the SMaRteN funded project to develop targeted wellbeing activities for undergraduate students.

Face-to-face sessions will be delivered to Level 4/Year 1 students and an online learning and assessment resource will be integrated into the programme’s virtual learning environment (VLE). Both will be monitored and supported by academic staff. Following on from the Year 1 face-to-face session, students in all years of the programme will interact regularly with the online resource. These interactions will be embedded into the curriculum and will support students in recognising the importance of monitoring and enhancing their own wellbeing and appreciating when and how to access help. The activities will encourage the development of professional attributes in relation to risk and self-management. 

Impact of the activity
The SMaRteN project outcomes are shared in the attached pdf. Briefly, the project on which the new activity with Optometry students is based, demonstrated through focus groups that students who received the wellbeing training and support reported that they had benefited from the programme. They recommended it should be continued. The Optometry-focused activity to be developed based on the SMaRteN project will also gather feedback from students after implementation in academic year 2022/23.
This case study relates to the following GOC outcomes:

Outcome 1. Person Centred Care ☐

Outcome 2. Communication ☐

Outcome 3. Clinical Care ☐

Outcome 4. Ethics and Standards ☐

Outcome 5. Risk ☒          Outcome O5.6

Outcome 6. Leadership and Management  ☐

Outcome 7. Lifelong Learning ☒        Outcomes O7.1, O7.2 

Scaffolding/Student experience & engagement ☐