Funded research in humanising care

Humanising Services

In collaboration with Bournemouth University, Professor Kathleen Galvin of the Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Hull has been successful in attracting a grant from the Burdett Trust for Nursing to apply a new theoretical framework for the purpose of ‘humanising services’ in two clinical settings.

The experience of dignity is linked to what makes people ‘feel human’. Conversely, what leads to dehumanisation and therefore loss of dignity needs to be understood and acted upon in meaningful service improvement. (Patients Association, 2009; 2012).

Using a lifeworld orientation and grounded in phenomenological philosophy eight key considerations that are relevant to the challenge to improve peoples’ experiences of the human dimensions of services have been defined (Todres et al., 2009; Galvin & Todres, 2012).

These are not detailed lists of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ or abstract generalities such as the need for more ‘user /customer focus’ or ‘choice’. Rather, they are eight dimensions about what makes a person feel human, which could help nurses, with service providers, to effectively focus their leadership when improving services to enhance dignity in care.

The team from University of Hull, Professor Steven Ersser, Dr Fiona Cowdell, Professor Roger Watson, Jane Wray, Kathleen Galvin and the team from Bournemouth University, Professor Les Todres and Dr Caroline Ellis-Hill are interested in what older people with long term skin conditions (being treated at a dermatology outpatient clinic) and people who have had a stroke (being cared for in a stroke rehabilitation unit with outreach service) point to that would make human perspectives more central in treatment. Our key practice partners include: Dr. Shernaz Walton, Consultant Dermatologist, Hull and East Yorkshire, NHS Trust and Dr Damien Jenkinson, National Stroke Lead, Royal Bournemouth Hospital Trust. Within these two settings, dermatology clinic and a stroke rehabilitation unit, a tripartite humanising improvement team group comprising older service users, nurses, and academics will engage in a robust ‘humanising improvement’ process that will be evaluated.

The full grant is called Humanising Services: A new transferable leadership strategy for improving ‘what matters to older people’ to enhance dignity in care.

Publications

  • Galvin, K.T. & Todres, L (2012) Caring and Well-being: A lifeworld approach. London: Routledge.
  • The Patients’ Association (2009) Patients…not numbers, People…not statistics.
  • The Patients’ Association (2012) Stories from the present, lessons for the future.
  • Todres, L., Galvin, K. and Holloway, I. (2009) The humanisation of healthcare: a value framework for qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 4, 68-77.

The impact of a humanising curriculum on the development of student nurse values

A funding application is currently in progress to research the  impact of a humanising curriculum on the development of student nurse values.

Our knowledge and understanding of the impact that different higher education programmes are likely to have on nursing students, and how a caring disposition develops over the duration of a higher education programme, is deficient (Watson et al 1999). In the wake of the Francis Report (2010; 2013), and allegations that nurses are ‘too clever to care’, there is a social and political need to understand how a caring disposition can be fostered and maintained. This project seeks to understand how nursing curricula shape nursing students’ personal beliefs about the core values of nursing by comparing how beliefs are shaped by two educational curricula.

Having recently rewritten our nursing curriculum, BU is in a unique position to pursue this research. The incoming nursing curriculum, which will be launched in September 2013, is based on a theoretical humanising framework (Todres et al.,2009) The humanising framework consists of eight specific aspects of what it is to be human and the means by which each aspect can be humanised or dehumanised. Based on the endeavours of Bournemouth University academics and international researchers, the humanising framework presents a coherent synergy where themes have been established across the years to ensure that units of learning are underpinned by an evidence-based value framework that build year on year on their own development as self as well as engagement with others.

The project uses a qualitative and longitudinal approach to collect data from student nurses at regular intervals over the three years that they are enrolled at BU. The same research framework will be applied to collect data on how the out-going curriculum is likely to shape core nursing values, and used as a baseline from which to explore the data collected from the new humanising curriculum. This will allow the research team to assess how core nursing values are shaped by each curriculum, and make appropriate comparisons.

The principal applicant is Professor Elizabeth Rosser with co-applicants Dr Ann Hemingway, Dr Janet Scammell, Dr Sara White, Dr Ian Donaldson, Eleanor Jack, Vanessa Heaslip, Jill Phillips and Karen Cooper.