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Students at DMU working to improve cancer care


Healthcare professionals are working with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to help transform the lives of people affected by cancer.

The 13 NHS workers are taking a course to develop the skills and knowledge required to enhance change for people living with and beyond cancer.

DMU & Macmillan health care professionals .WEB

They are critically analysing existing services and proposing solutions, then designing and implementing individual projects to improve cancer services across the Midlands.

The professionals, who hold senior positions within cancer services, have had four months to develop work-based projects to change professional practice and significantly contribute to developing and enhancing patient care.

They are focusing on innovative issues such as initiating holistic needs assessments, tackling cancer fatigue and improving after-care support and services for cancer patients.

The six-month ‘self-management in cancer care’ course focuses on both the treatment and recovery of cancer patients. It has been designed by DMU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery in partnership with the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

DMU’s Associate Professor in Cancer Dr Lynn Furber, who is also module leader, said: “We are working with Macmillan to provide students with the skills to develop and manage projects which will improve clinical services and ultimately enhance the patient experience.

“This is a really exciting initiative which enables students to transfer their academic skills and knowledge to clinical care.”

The course provides an opportunity for health care professionals to demonstrate critical and creative thinking through work-based learning.

Project management, presentation skills, ethical considerations, influencing managers and changing health care decision-making are also included in the specialised course.

The 10-session course, which started in December, will end with students showcasing their work-based projects to their managers and workplace mentors on April 17.

They will then be assessed on their final essays, which will be a critical appraisal of their service development initiative, as well as their understanding of the learning process.

Health care professionals studying the standalone module include nurses, pharmacists, physicians, operating theatre staff, and Macmillan support staff. They are working towards either degree or master’s qualifications.

It is the first time DMU has run this course, but it is expected to go-ahead again next year. Macmillan approached DMU to run the module after funding similar courses elsewhere in the country.


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Joannna Fairhurst, Macmillan’s Learning and Development Manager for the East Midlands, said they recognised that there was a need for academic excellence to improve patient care across the region.

She said: “We are creating a new opportunity for Macmillan and DMU, and working cohesively as partners.

“It’s really exciting to be able to support Macmillan professionals developing work-based projects.

“Not only do the professionals learn new skills and get accredited, they are also using their expertise to make a real invaluable change to patient care.”

DMU students also volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support to offer practical and emotional support to people diagnosed with cancer as well as their carers and loved ones. The scheme is run by #DMUlocal, the university’s community engagement team.

Posted on Monday 26th March 2018

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