Workforce Engagement and Wellbeing Theme Update


Research team:  Professor Rebecca Lawton, Professor Robbie Foy, Dr Jane Heyhoe, Dr Raabia Sattar, Emily Parker (PhD Student)

I’m Emily, a third year PhD student in the Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. My PhD aims to identify how doctors and patients in the Emergency Department can be supported to cope with uncertainty. Where the uncertainty associated with discharging patients creates anxiety for doctors, liberal approaches to admission take place. Although such decisions are made with good intent, they can have a negative impact on patient safety, exposing patients to risks of unnecessary hospitalisation and placing the health service under increasing strain. So far, my PhD has considered the uncertainty faced by staff and patients and identified potential areas for interventions through a review of the literature, interviewing doctors and surveying patients. My final study draws upon my existing findings and alongside patients and clinicians, I will design an intervention to improve the experience of uncertainty for both staff and patients.

Lay Leader Involvement with our theme

Hilary Thompson, the lay leader for the Workforce Engagement and Wellbeing research theme, has contributed hugely to my research and skill development, particularly around communication of my findings. Hilary’s involvement in my PhD began in the first few months of my research when we discussed the impact my research could have on patients. This motivated me to produce impactful research, informed by her expertise with older patients. Since then, Hilary has offered her invaluable input at all stages of my research, from considering research questions, to developing interview schedules and producing outputs. Hilary particularly enjoyed helping me analyse the interviews I conducted with doctors where together, we considered the complexities of discharging patients with social care needs. This experience opened my eyes to care pathways I had no prior knowledge of and Hilary enjoyed learning about the analysis of qualitative data. Hilary’s practical approach to improving healthcare along with my theoretical approach makes for an excellent team when creating outputs of my research. In fact, Hilary has repeatedly commented on the visual presentation of my findings. This meant, when it came to producing a video summarising the findings of my interview study to a lay audience, I had a wealth of material to draw upon. You can access the summary video on this webpage:

I am thrilled that Hilary is keen to be involved in my future PhD studies and would like to thank her sincerely for all her support.