Empathy and Dignity through technology

A Pulman, K Galvin, M Hutchings, L Todres, A Quinney, C Ellis-Hill, … (2012)
Electronic Journal of e-Learning 10 (3), 349-359

Abstract:
A person’s sense of dignity is a complex phenomenon and is intertwined with their sense of feeling human and being respected as a human being. In 2010, the School of Health and Social Care developed a collaborative lifeworld led transprofessional curriculum for health and social work disciplines harnessing technology to connect learners to a wider view of evidence based practice. The purpose was to increase use of technology-enhanced learning, introduce lifeworld-led philosophy to the curriculum, release staff potential, and expose students to research undertaken within the School. Delivered to undergraduate students the Exploring Evidence to Guide Practice Unit was facilitated by a number of resources including lectures, group work and a variety of web-based learning materials.
Central to the unit were seventeen web-based case studies which included the human experience of the impact of specific illnesses (such as stroke and living with dementia) and more general experiences (such as social isolation and homelessness). Each case study provided stories and poems, qualitative and quantitative research and policy and practice issues related to specific topics.

At the heart of the philosophy underpinning the unit was an opportunity for students to integrate understandings about different kinds of knowledge for practice, conventional evidence, understandings about the person’s or service user’s experience and the student’s own insights that came from imagining ‘what it was like’ for the person experiencing a condition or situation and encountering human. The project built on the successful development of Wessex Bay, a virtual community of case scenarios, used as problem-based triggers to engage students in learning activities relating to residents.

This paper discusses the development of the web-based case studies and how they integrated visual and audio materials with the aim of enhancing the lifeworld experience of students and helping to show the importance of humanising healthcare.

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