Getty image 506200364 elderly patient with nurse

University projects and people shortlisted for the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNAs)

  • Kim Young HEE Star Award

    Strengthening the Foundation - Embedding Wider Patient Engagement (WPE) into a Pre-Registration Nursing Programme

  • ACEmobile dementia app

    Using Insight from Staff Feedback – ACEmobile

  • Toni Page

    Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Toni Page

  • Rebecca Baines

    Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Rebecca Baines

  • Kelly Whitehorn nursing student

    Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Kelly Whitehorn

Five projects from the University of Plymouth have been named finalists in a national awards scheme that recognises best practice in patient experience.

The Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNAs) are the first and only awards programme to recognise initiatives across all facets of health and social care in the UK, and this year’s shortlisting celebrates the University’s nursing, digital health and research expertise.

The winners will be announced at the PENNAs ceremony on Wednesday 20 March at the Repertory Theatre in Birmingham.

Strengthening the Foundation - Embedding Wider Patient Engagement (WPE) into a Pre-Registration Nursing Programme 

The University is the only higher education institution (HEI) to feature in the Strengthening the Foundation Award category, thanks to its work to incorporate patient experience into its undergraduate nursing programme.

The project, entitled ‘Embedding Wider Patient Engagement (WPE) into a Pre-Registration Nursing Programme’, highlights how student nurses work alongside feedback platforms and local patient groups, and engage with patient voice on digital forums to make a difference. In turn, the WPE develops their own learning and experiences of working with people in the community.

In 2015, in a national first, students on Plymouth’s adult nursing degree worked with patient participation groups (PPG) located inside GP surgeries to help them tackle a variety of issues and problems. Since then, Plymouth has become the first HEI to link to feedback platforms Care Opinion and Patients’ Association.

Kim Young, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, is the Wider Patient Engagement lead, and champions the work alongside Professor Ray Jones, Francis Thompson, Janet Kelsey, Rachel Carter and Sharon Jones in the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

She said: 

“It’s a huge part of our philosophy that we should be listening to patients, and treating them as partners in their care. WPE has attracted scrutiny and interest from key national organisations particularly NHS England and Health Education England (HEE), and our nursing students have been congratulated by HEE for their involvement. We’re really proud of the work we do and being the only HEI shortlisted for this award out of a large number of entries is fantastic.” 

Using Insight from Staff Feedback – ACEmobile 

ACEmobile, an app that helps to carry out dementia screening tests, has been shortlisted in the Using Insight from Staff Feedback category. The app was developed by Dr Craig Newman from the University of Plymouth and Dr Rupert Noad from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, and recently won the HSJ award for Using Technology to Improve Efficiency.

ACEmobile is the first tool of its kind, supporting doctors and nurses through the whole process of a common dementia screening assessment known as the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination III (ACE III). The ACE III consists of 19 activities testing cognitive domains including attention and memory processing. It uses the benefits of computerisation, such as onscreen instruction, to empower more members of the clinical team to feel confident carrying out screening for dementia – and has incorporated staff feedback to ensure the most effective and user-friendly experience.

Dr Newman, part of the University's Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine, said: 

“ACEmobile provides a free means for clinicians to support the reliability, accuracy and efficiency of ACE-based assessments in dementia clinics whilst also generating research data to improve the assessment of dementia into the future. It’s thanks to staff feedback that we’ve been able to make the app such a useful tool, and we hope many other clinicians come to realise its benefits to make a real difference to patient care.” 

Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Toni Page 

To help more people gain confidence in using digital platforms in health spheres, PhD student Toni Page has led the development of a Digital Health Champion Scheme. 

The scheme sees volunteers (nursing students or community volunteers) support service users and carers at home, in public, or NHS settings, to enhance their experience of using digital health. It could be as simple as accessing a website or sending an email, it could be as complex as utilizing an app or technology for a particular condition. The idea is to tailor the experience to the needs of the user, while giving students the benefit of learning about the social context of people they support. 

Toni said: 

"It’s been great to work collaboratively with organisations including Healthwatch and Age UK Plymouth, along with students, academics, and healthcare professionals to develop acceptable and feasible models. Hopefully the next step will be to embed the model into the undergraduate nursing curriculum, as this project has proved so valuable for everyone involved.”

Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Rebecca Baines 

Despite its significance in patient safety and quality improvement, no study has previously explored the importance of responding to patient feedback from a patient perspective. 

Rebecca Baines, a PhD student in the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA), has been shortlisted for the Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow award after co-designing an innovative patient feedback response framework. She has developed the framework in coproduction with a volunteer mental health patient research partner; local mental health charity, Heads Count; and national patient feedback platform, Care Opinion. The evidence-based initiative is already being implemented as a training resource by some healthcare organisations to transform patient and service-user experience and is also being built into the Care Opinion interface to encourage responding best practice.

Rebecca said: 

“Responding to patient feedback is a key part of quality improvement and patient safety but the quality of existing responses varies hugely. Coproducing this framework has been a really insightful experience, and having the work recognised on a national level is really humbling. The team hopes it will raise awareness of the importance of responding to patient feedback and look forward to seeing it being implemented further.” 

Read the research paper about the framework in the journal Health Expectations doi: 10.1111/hex.12682.


Patient Experience Transformer of Tomorrow – Kelly Whitehorn 

Student nurse Kelly Whitehorn has been shortlisted for her work developing a student nurse-led lunch support for national Nutrition and Hydration Week.   

While on placement at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Kelly encouraged patients on the acute care of the elderly wards at to have lunch together in the day rooms to bring back the social aspect of lunch. The student nurses were also available to help in the bays with patients who need extra support during meal times – ranging from cutting food for patients to actually feeding the patients.

Kelly said: 

“Many things had happened to help patients through the week but I noticed there was no student nurse involvement and I wanted to change that. Some patients on the ward were dementia or stroke patients, so they weren’t always able to communicate their needs easily. But we noticed that the simple gesture of cutting food for them enabled them to eat a full meal rather than ¾ or a ½. It really stressed the importance of how spending the extra time with patients can improve nutrition and hydration and it was great for the student nurses to have exposure to best practice lunchtimes.”

Kelly is looking to develop Nutrition and Hydration Week even further this year.

Begin your future in healthcare

The University offers the largest range of healthcare study options in the South West. Your learning experience will be enhanced by our state-of-the-art clinical facilities, joined up working and real life placement opportunities across the region. 

Join us – become a healthcare professional of the future
First choice for health getty image

Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

From basic research discovering the causes of disease, through to evaluating novel ways of delivering care to the most vulnerable people in society, our thriving community conducts adventurous world-leading research.

Transformation in life course, ageing, methodologies, e-health, technology and interventions in health, social care, lifestyle and wellbeing.

Find out more about our research
People walking and talking in a modern setting.