My workplace experience with Healthwatch Islington

Shabiha Rahman, a Health and Social Care BSc student at London Met, tells us about her experience working with Healthwatch Islington as part of her studies.

Date: 3 April 2019

During the middle of September, as an undergraduate I took part in volunteering work for health watch Islington, to examine community services delivered by Whittington Health, which was part of my placement for my studies.

The volunteer work included primary research, which was conducted through interviewing patients with services such as: receiving appointments prompt, and able to cancel without difficulties, staff competency with communication towards patients, and access on information without complications, and finally experience in using ambulance transport for vulnerable residents for travelling to hospital appointments.

I visited six healthcare centres within Islington interviewing around 82 patients. Overall it was a good experience, because I took part in primary research which involved sampling methods such as; face to face interviews, with questions which was also formulated by me and my colleagues, and had to fit in with the project aiming our objectives, and results were pleasing. Before the interviews were processed, I was fully trained by the staff members of health watch, which took around two months, the training involved preparing questions to address the criteria of the project, and role play to build up my confidence before going into the field.

It was an amazing experience, I felt confidence in obtaining the research, I made sure ethical guidelines were addressed, and no pressure from me to the patients, I made sure the patients followed up my questions with additional answers, as that was our motive, to gather as much information possible. The research was only for private patients, excluding GP patients.

The services we were focusing on were: Podiatry, Physiotherapy, Phlebotomy, Leg Ulcer Clinic, Dentistry, COPD/Lung Groups, Nutrition and Diabetes, Bladder and Bowel Service, however the highest numbers were from podiatry patients.

In this process, I leaned the skills of primary research, forming questions for questionnaires, how to engage ethical guidelines, time management, and finally professionalism. The collective information was developed into a report, published on the website of Healthwatch Islington, which was good publicity for me, and made feel very proud of my work, therefore in the future, I would definitely consider doing more work with Healthwatch Islington.

Shabiha Rahman