Innovative teaching recognised at RCSI International Education Forum 2024

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Ali-Rose Sisk, Lecturer of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, RCSI Bahrain, winner of the RCSI Education Innovation Award 2024 pictured with Professor Hannah McGee, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, RCSI.

A learning initiative to enhance students' person-centred communication skills with dementia patients has won the Health Professions Education Centre's Teaching Innovation Award at the 2024 RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences International Education Forum.

The winning initiative was led by Ali-Rose Sisk, Lecturer of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, RCSI Bahrain, in collaboration with colleagues Aisling Fahey, Amna Al-Muhandes and Doaa Magdy. 

The project involved piloting an Interprofessional Learning (IPL) event for undergraduate nursing and medical students, developed using the VERA (Validation, Emotion, Reassurance, Activity) framework for therapeutic dementia communication. This novel intervention included a 1.5-hour workshop that introduced students to the VERA framework, supported by role-play exercises to demonstrate effective and ineffective communication strategies for people living with dementia.

Professor Jan Illing, Professor of Health Professions Education and Director of the Health Professions Education Centre at RCSI said: “I congratulate the winners of this year’s RCSI Education Innovation Award which recognises the central importance of innovation in teaching and learning at RCSI. Their initiative, and all the shortlisted projects, exemplify the innovative educational practice in medicine and health sciences education that we have across our university campuses.”

The awards, chaired by Fiona Kent, Deputy Director of the Health Professions Education Centre, took place as part of the 13th RCSI International Education Forum (IEF) with this year’s theme, ‘Innovating for a Healthier Future’, looking forward to plans under the RCSI Strategy 2023-2027. 

The programme included a guest lecture from Dr Grace Spence Green, an activist doctor trying to change the disability narrative in mainstream media, who addressed the topic of 'Challenging Narratives on Disability in Healthcare’.

Professor Hannah McGee, Deputy Vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said: “The International Education Forum, an annual tradition since 2012, brings together members of the RCSI international community to discuss our education-focussed ideas and innovations and to share our successes and resolve challenges.”

Award finalists

Initiatives commended as RCSI Education Innovation Award finalists were:

  • Creating an AI-Assist Protocol for SBA writing – Dr Muirne Spooner, School of Medicine and Dr Nora Al-Shawee, Department of Medicine
  • How to Facilitate and Implement After Action Reviews (AAR) in Healthcare: an Open Access Educational Innovation – Dr Siobhán McCarthy, Graduate School of Healthcare Management, Dr Natasha Rafter, School of Population Health and Professor David Williams, School of Medicine
  • A Decade of Enhanced Learning: Flipped Classroom Blended Learning in Chemistry for Scalability and Student Success – Dr Graeme Kelly, Suzanne Donnelly and Professor Donal O’Shea, Department of Chemistry
  • A Novel PPI and Engaged Research Module for Postgraduate Students: A National Pilot and Evaluation – Niamh Dillon, RCSI Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in Research Manager, Dr Michelle Flood, RCSI PPI Ignite Network Lead, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PBS) in collaboration with Drs Emily Racine and Cole Kelleher, UCC
  • Transnational Interprofessional Learning – Preparing for an Increasingly Diverse Health Sector – Professor Nuha Birido, Department of Surgery, RCSI Bahrain
  • Designing Your Life – a Transformative University Journey for All – Fionnuala Rahilly, Ciara Tallon and Niamh Mullen, Centre for Mastery: Personal, Professional and Academic Success (CoMPPAS)
  • Introduction to Emergency Medicine – a comprehensive mini-EM curriculum – Dr Izabella Orban and Dr Niamh Collins, Graduate Entry Medicine
  • Can Remote Expert Feedback in Endovascular Simulation Training Segment Learning Opportunities for Trainees in Vascular Surgery – Adam F. Roche, Tim Lawler and Professor Claire Condron
  • Placing Pride in Medical Education – Professor Seamus Sreenan, Dr Jacqui Clifford and Dr Amir Bachari, Graduate Entry Medicine

2024 RCSI Education Innovation Award finalists.