Birmingham City University will offer therapeutic radiography students the chance to delve into an escape room adventure, which will take them out of the classroom into puzzle-solving teamwork games to help students build communication skills and a sense of belonging, which should lead to better retention.
Birmingham's initiative is one of a number of successful bids designed to support existing and new AHP students. Therapeutic radiography and other disciplines have been identified as vulnerable because of decreasing recruitment and retention in higher education courses. The intention is to ensure more students from diverse backgrounds choose to study and complete therapeutic radiography courses.
The investment of £225,000 comes from a health education Challenge Fund set up by the Office for Students as part of the strategic interventions in health education disciplines (SIHED) programme. The fund aims to increase the number of students entering and completing small, specialist healthcare courses.
After a competitive bidding process, two collaborative and four individual projects were chosen by a panel including representatives from the College of Podiatry, the Society and College of Radiographers, the Council of Deans of Health and Health Education England.
Yvonne Hawkins, Director of Teaching Excellence and Student Experience at the OfS, said: "The OfS is delighted to support projects to improve take-up and delivery of therapeutic radiography courses. The projects are trialling new approaches that will be transferable to other providers of healthcare education, and they have great potential, if successful, to benefit students and the health sector. We are keen to see how the outcomes will support course provision in these vital allied health disciplines, and will be actively supporting the sharing of good practice."
Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer at NHS England, commented, "I particularly welcome this resource from the Office for Students to support undergraduate programmes. Allied health professions are a vital contribution to the delivery of efficient and effective care and must be secured for future healthcare delivery.’
Other projects include:
University of Liverpool - Developing learning through simulation: Using virtual environments to reduce clinical placement pressures
Sheffield Hallam University - Male therapeutic radiographers: Understanding and addressing barriers to higher education recruitment
University of the West of England, Bristol and City University, London - Enabling clinical supervisors to better support and nurture students to achieve their full potential: Improving retention in therapeutic radiography.
The Challenge Fund is part of the strategic interventions in health education disciplines (SIHED) programme, which launched in March 2018. The SIHED programme will provide a total of £3 million funding over three years to national initiatives that support demand and improve student retention to enhance the sustainability of small, specialist and vulnerable pre-registration courses at higher education providers, including therapeutic radiography.
The fund supports a range of student and health education sector priorities, including innovation in higher education, efficiency and effectiveness, skills and employability, and student interest issues.