Laura Cooney

I’ve always been very practical: good at maths and science, but a bit less sure of myself when it comes to writing. Working as a midwife since 2011, I knew I would need a masters to progress into a management role, and that masters would have to include a focus on leadership. But I was nervous and kept putting it off, and I didn’t think I would be good enough. Then Covid hit, and lockdown after lockdown, and I couldn’t put it on the back burner any longer.

I chose RCSI because I’d heard good things from previous students: they said it was particularly supportive of students like me, who returned to education and were worried about feeling overwhelmed. In addition, the online element meant I didn’t have to trek through town and from the get-go, there was great support at all levels, nothing was ever a problem. The teaching was practical and considered, and nothing was ever too complicated. The guest lecturers were enthusiastic, positive and always relevant.

As part of my project for the MSc in Quality and Safety in Healthcare Management at RCSI, my classmates and I decided to develop an educational resource. It was in the dark days of Covid, when partners could not attend clinics, check-ups or antenatal classes, and were often in the dark. This lack of information meant that patients and partners were phoning wards with lots of questions. We wanted to support them, but sometimes the calls could go on for 20 minutes and impact our ability to take care of the patients on the ward.

So, our idea was a standardised parent education video to be watched in tandem with an upgraded patient leaflet. Once we got ethical approval, we ran focus groups and did patient surveys and I audited phone calls to see how long they were taking. From this emerged a video with information on what to expect, different methods of induction, pain relief and how dads could be included.

The video is still in use today and has led to a 77% reduction in phone calls to the ward, a 66% rise in staff satisfaction and a 77% increase in patient satisfaction. Best of all, we’ve had feedback from women that it has really helped them.

None of this would have been possible for me and my classmates without the support of RCSI. We’ve not only improved our own careers; we’ve also made life better for our patients.

Learn more about our MSc in Quality and Safety in Healthcare Management programme here.