Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Surgery) research projects

Research projects available for our intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Surgery) can be found below.

Can information technology and social media enhance the patient experience of surgical outpatient consultations?

Main Supervisor:
Mr Tim Wilson
Tim.wilson1@nhs.net

Second Supervisor:
Miss Rina George
Rina.george@nhs.net

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:

  • To examine the existing evidence base to determine whether information technology or social media can improve the efficiency or patient experience of clinical consultations
  • To determine the needs and expectations from patients attending the surgical outpatient department and to determine whether these were met
  • To determine patient experience of information technology and social media and to gauge whether these could be used to improve the outpatient experience

Research Methodology:
The study will consist of two parts

  1. A systematic review of the medical literature to identify previous studies that have examined the use of information technology and social media in clinical consultations to determine whether these have improved efficiency or patient experience
  2. A service review of surgical outpatient consultations, including a large scale patient questionnaire survey to explore patient’s expectations, experiences and satisfaction with their outpatient consultation. A subset of questions will examine patients experience with information technology and social media and explore how these could be used to enhance the patient experience. The relationship between these different outcomes will be explored.

Expected Outcome:
It is expected that this study would generate the potential for two clinical papers, one relating to the use of information technology (IT) in enhancing out patient care and another relating to the process of assessing patient outpatients needs and looking for novel IT solutions to these. This work has the potential for presentation at national conferences or publication in peer review journals. If the student’s work is accepted for presentation, then expenses will be available for conferences and travel fees. It is hoped that this work will contribute to the eventual quality improvement in surgical outpatient care.

Additional Training:
Doncaster and Bassetlaw is ideally suited to supporting intercalating students in their research. The hospital will pay for travel expenses from Sheffield and accommodation can be arranged is needed. Students will receive orientation to the hospital and department, along with mentoring. Specific training will be provided in conducting systematic reviews and training can also be arranged for writing clinical papers. Weekly supervision meetings will be organised to guide the student through each stage of this research project. Further optional clinical experience in the surgical department can be arranged for interested students.

Ethical Approval:
Original research involving human tissues/human participants and/or patient details and information - UREC or NHS REC ethics approval needed

Nutritional deficiencies after gastric bypass surgery

Main Supervisor:
Mr Abdulzahra Hussain
abdulzahra.hussain@nhs.net

Second Supervisor:
Professor Linda Wyld
l.wyld@sheffield.ac.uk

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
To compare the Nutritional deficiencies after Mini Gastric Bypass[MGB] and Roux En-Y Gastric Bypass[RYGB]

Research Methodology:
Background: both RYGB and MGB are known for nutritional deficiencies, however the magnitude of this complication is not well studied in MGB specifically.The aim is to compare both operations with regards to the nutritional deficiencies.
Methods: All patients who underwent MGB and RYGB during 2015-2017 are included.
The blood tests and clinical notes are reviewed to complete the data set.
The data are including demographic, operative details, complications and nutritional deficiencies in particular.
Statistical analysis will be applied and P value of <0.5 will be taken as significant.
Both procedures nutritional outcomes are compared.

Expected Outcome:
Studies had shown MGB is associated with nutritional deficiencies , however we don't know the magnitude compared to RYGB at the same setting units.
We anticipate MGB higher nutritional deficiencies rate but this is yet to be confirmed by the study.

Additional Training:
The student will enjoy full training and support in clinical environment with regards to the project setting ,data access,and theatre attendance to observe the types of the operations.The main work will be data collection and analysis .The student will be supported by funding the transport between Sheffield and Doncaster

Ethical Approval:
Non-human tissue - no ethics approval required

Comparison of breast reconstruction outcomes between Latissimus dorsi flap and implant based reconstruction: a matched analysis

Main Supervisor:
Professor lynda Wyld
l.wyld@sheffield.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Ms Jenna Morgan
j.morgan@sheffield.ac.uk

Department:
Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
To determine the long term physical, cosmetic and psychological outcomes of breast reconstruction using 2 different techniques using propensity score matched analysis

Research Methodology:
The project will involve collecting data on 2 cohorts of patients who have had either LD flap based reconstruction or implant /ADM reconstruction since 2002. Data will be extracted on the type of surgery, the acute and longer term complications and the risk factors for these. Women will be contacted and sent a quality of life questionnaire that looks at cosmetic satisfaction as well as psychological satisfaction. In addition, women will be interviewed about their perceptions, satisfaction, regrets etc about their surgery. The work will lead to a mixed methods synthesis regarding the different types of surgery and include both statistical analysis of data, questionnaire analysis and analysis of qualitative interviews (N=20).

Expected Outcome:
The candidate will generate 3 types of data relating to the physical outcomes of both types of surgery, the psychological and cosmetic impacts of the surgery and the patients subjective opinions of the surgery. The candidate will be supported to present the data at an international conference and write the project up for publication in a surgical journal

Additional Training:
Data collection, data analysis using SPSS statistics package, quality of life analysis, interviewing training and experience, interview analysis, academic writing, literature review methods, presenting and publishing skills. The candidate will also be encouraged to attend breast clinics and breast theatres to see this type of surgery being performed

Ethical Approval:
Original research involving human tissues/human participants and/or patient details and information - UREC or NHS REC ethics approval needed

Assessment of Respiratory Function in Early Onset Scoliosis

Main Supervisor:
Mr Lee Breakwell
l.breakwell@shef.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Mr Bayley Edward
edward.bayley4@nhs.net

Department:
Sheffield Children's Hospital

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
To assess the baseline respiratory status of young children with scoliosis. Progressive curves harm the lungs and ribcage of children, and monitoring such changes are difficult in clinical practice. Assessing the baseline and monitoring changes using novel techniques will allow our collaborative team to intervene in the child's spinal management in the optimum manner

Research Methodology:
Our student colleague will work alongside us in the scoliosis clinic, recruit the patients, and undertake several of the respiratory tests themselves. The study is a collaboration between the spinal and respiratory teams at SCH. Use of the new EOS Xray software to assess chest wall shape on one of only two systems available in the UK. Support in grant application will be given to ensure the longitudinal follow up of patients is possible.

Expected Outcome:
As ethics is already in place, recruitment of 20 patients is expected, with serial measurements of function over the 10 months period. Novel measurement of chest geometry will lead to peer review publication in this new field. This study is the first step to identifying the best manner of monitoring changing respiratory function in this potentially fatal condition. Podium presentation at national spinal meeting is expected.

Additional Training:
Training in respiratory test deployment, EOS software measurements, xray assessment. Regular opportunities to attend outpatient and theatre sessions as desirable for the successful candidate

Ethical Approval:
Original research involving human tissues/human participants and/or patient details and information - UREC or NHS REC ethics approval obtained already

What do we need to know about patients having emergency surgery?

Main Supervisor:
Mr Matthew Lee
m.j.lee@sheffield.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Mr Peter Coe
petecoe@doctors.net.uk

Department:
Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Type of Project:
Qualitative Project/non-lab based - primarily using qualitative methods

Aims and Objectives:
Emergency surgery is a relative research desert, and advances in the field are limited by low quality research. One of the problems is that studies do not report the characteristics of included patients very well. This means that it is difficult to understand whether the study maps to the patient population we care for. We have undertaken a review of patient descriptors described in the literature and generate a longlist. We would like to reduce this to a shorter list that we can encourage other researchers to use in the future to help us generate 'better' research.
The aim of this study is to reduce a longlist of items into key domains or concepts relevant to reporting in studies of treatment of perforated peptic ulcer
Objectives:
Convert current long list of items into a questionnaire form
To assess the face validity of the long list with experts in the clinical field
To undertake a survey of clincians to identify which items in the long list they would like to know
To reduce this long list to key domains using factor analysis methodology and to further reduce items to key variables
To agree what items in these key domains should be reported in future studies

Research Methodology:
The student will be supported in questionnaire design for this project, as well as consensus techniques. They will be given access to an expert group of clinicians and will measure face validity of the questionnaire, adding any missing items.
The student will deliver an online questionnaire to clinicians using social media.
Student will analyse this data using factor analysis approaches (will be taught this) and using cut offs for the consensus technique.

Expected Outcome:
You will be trained in survey design and some specialist statistical techniques, as well as consensus techniques.
We anticipate that this work will generate at least one presentation at a national or international meeting as well as a peer reviewed journal.
This reflects relatively novel methodology, and may also lead to a methods paper being prepared.

Additional Training:
We will provide training in survey design and analysis.
We will train you in the additional statistical techniques required.
We will encourage you to attend departmental teaching/journal clubs at the Northern General Hospital and in the local area.
We will teach you about the history of the condition and current treatment options. We will encourage you to attend the surgical admissions unit at the Northern General to understand how patients are managed. This will help you to understand the clinical problem.

Ethical Approval:
Original research involving human tissues/human participants and/or patient details and information - UREC or NHS REC ethics approval needed

3D printing and virtual reality in colorectal surgery

Main Supervisor:
Mr Keith Chapple
keith.chapple@nhs.net

Second Supervisor:
Dr John Fenner
j.w.fenner@sheffield.ac.uk

Other Supervisor(s):
Peter Metherall

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
To investigate whether 3D printing and virtual reality are useful in routine surgical practice

Research Methodology:
The Sheffield 3D Laboratory has pioneered the use of 3D imaging in the planning of surgical operations. 2D MRI and CT scans can now be easily and quickly transformed into 3D images and are routinely used prior to certain surgical operations, such as bowel cancer surgery. We now wish to extend this application to see if routine MRI and CT scans can be easily transferred into 3D printed models and virtual reality images, enabling the surgeon to obtain an even more realistic view of surgical anatomy and pathology pre-operatively.

Expected Outcome:
By the end of the project we aim to generate both a virtual reality and 3D printed model of a standard surgical procedure (bowel cancer excision and anal fistula surgery) that is quickly, cheaply and easily available to the operating surgeon. Previous BMedSci and MSc students working on the fore-runner to this work have emerged with honours degrees, prizes, presentations and published work.

Additional Training:
There will be an opportunity to be involved in the development of a virtual reality surgical model. No prior computer expertise is necessary

Ethical Approval:
Non-human tissue - no ethics approval required

Variation in consent for general surgical procedures

Main Supervisor:
Miss Jenna Morgan
j.morgan@sheffield.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Professor Lynda Wyld
l.wyld@sheffield.ac.uk

Department:
Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Type of Project:
Qualitative Project/non-lab based - primarily using qualitative methods

Aims and Objectives:

  1. Identify the variation in consent for two common general surgical procedures
  2. Explore the understanding of consent amongst general surgeons
  3. Examine the individual's training in consent amongst general surgeons

Research Methodology:
The project will be a mixed methods project using semi-structured qualitative interviews, analysed via the framework method in NVivo, and questionnaire methodology, analysed using descriptive statistics within SPSS.

Expected Outcome:
Student will examine the differences in consent forms between surgeons based on a standard patient vignette and will interview trainees in surgery to identify how they have learnt to take consent, what training they have had and what they understand by informed consent. I expect there to be a great deal of variation as, anecdotally, consent is taken differently across the region and I feel this could be standardised and taught better.

Additional Training:
Student will be taught how to perform and analyse semi-structured qualitative interviews in NVivo.

Ethical Approval:
Original research involving human tissues/human participants and/or patient details and information - UREC or NHS REC ethics approval needed

Systematic review and service evaluation of transanal resection techniques for significant rectal neoplasms

Main Supervisor:
Mr Athur Harikrishnan
a.harikrishnan@sheffield.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Dr Panagiota Kitsanta
panagiota.kitsanta@nhs.net

Other Supervisor(s):
Mr Shwan Amin, Dr Rebecca Denoronha

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
Significant rectal neoplasms include large benign and malignant lesions that require complex surgical techniques to treat. Transanal techniques like TEMS and TAMIS are well recognised treatment options. The aims of this project are

  1. to perform a systematic review of the efficacy and long-term outcomes of transanal resection techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms published in literature, and
  2. to review the outcomes of transanal techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms in the colorectal unit of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Research Methodology:
Stage One: Learn methodology of conducting systematic review.
Stage Two: Conduct systematic review of the efficacy and outcomes of transanal techniques in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms published in English literature. This will involve detailed literature search on the topic that is followed by data consolidation and analysis. The candidate is expected to write and submit the systematic review for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. This review will form the first part of the dissertation submitted for the BSc intercalated degree.
Stage Three: Learn methodology of conducting data collection and comparative analysis. The candidate will gain knowledge of basic and advanced statistical knowledge required for the project.
Stage Four: The candidate will collect data related to transanal techniques used in the treatment of significant rectal neoplasms in the Sheffield colorectal unit under the guidance of the supervisors. This will involve retrospective and prospective data collection, data analysis, statistical computing and discussion of results. This exercise should generate at least one publication and several abstracts, posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings. The core data analysis from this stage will contribute to the second part of the dissertation. It is expected that the stages mentioned above will merge to complement each other during the BSc project.

Expected Outcome:

  1. The project will generate at least two peer-reviewed publications as mentioned above.
  2. The project will also yield several posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings.
  3. The project will enable the candidate to submit a dissertation to the university as a requirement for the BSc degree.
  4. The candidate will gain knowledge of key academic assets that is required for any medical practitioner e.g., systematic review and clinical data analysis.

Additional Training:

  1. The student will learn research and statistical methodology of conducting and writing a systematic review.
  2. The student will be taught clinical and demographic data collection and analyses.
  3. The student will learn about investigation and treatment of rectal neoplasms

Ethical Approval:
Service Evaluation - NHS Service Evaluation number required - UoS Ethics will additionally be required

Simulation models in surgical training – systematic review and analysis of current simulation environment for surgical training in South Yorkshire

Main Supervisor:
Mr Athur Harikrishnan
a.harikrishnan@sheffield.ac.uk

Second Supervisor:
Mr Paul Skinner
paul.skinner4@nhs.net

Other Supervisor(s):
Prof S Brown, Mrs L Izzard

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Qualitative Project/non-lab based - primarily using qualitative methods

Aims and Objectives:
Current challenges in surgical training has produced a surge in the different types of simulation techniques to equip the trainees with the most appropriate skills to practice safe medicine. Traditional teaching is supported by a variety of learning environments like dry lab, wet lab, cadaveric lab and software-based laparoscopic and robotic surgery models. More recently virtual reality and augmented reality simulators have entered the realm of surgical training that have introduced a completely new dimension to the surgical learning experience.
The aims of this project are to

  1. conduct a systematic review of the different simulation frameworks and platforms used in general surgery and colorectal surgery training, and
  2. perform an analysis of the current surgical simulation environment in South Yorkshire.

Research Methodology:
Stage One: Learn methodology of conducting systematic review.
Stage Two: Conduct systematic review of the different simulation models used in general and colorectal surgery. This will involve detailed literature search on the topic that is followed by data consolidation and analysis. The candidate is expected to write and submit the systematic review for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. This review will form the first part of the dissertation submitted for the BSc intercalated degree.
Stage Three: Learn methodology of conducting data collection and comparative analysis. The candidate will gain knowledge of basic and advanced statistical knowledge required for the project.
Stage Four: The Sheffield Academy of Surgical Skills and Simulation conducts different courses and workshops encompassing various types of simulation models including dry lab, wet lab, laparoscopic skills lab and cadaveric courses. The candidate will collate and analyse the excepted learning outcomes and skill set development from each type of training episode. This will involve data collection, data analysis, statistical computing and discussion of results. This exercise should generate at least one publication and several abstracts, posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings. The core data analysis from this stage will contribute to the second part of the dissertation.
It is expected that the stages mentioned above will merge to complement each other during the BSc project.

Expected Outcome:

  1. The project will generate at least two peer-reviewed publications as mentioned above.
  2. The project will also yield several posters and presentations in regional, national and international meetings.
  3. The project will enable the candidate to submit a dissertation to the university as a requirement for the BSc degree.
  4. The candidate will gain knowledge of key academic assets that is required for any medical practitioner e.g., systematic review and data analysis.

Additional Training:

  1. The student will learn research and statistical methodology of conducting and writing a systematic review.
  2. The student will be taught clinical and demographic data collection and analyses.
  3. The candidate will understand the different simulation models and platforms used for surgical training and get a first hand knowledge of benchmarking the simulation courses.

Ethical Approval:
Non-human tissue - no ethics approval required

Web-based Pre-Operative Assessment: Analysis of electronic data from 20,000 patients attending Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Main Supervisor:
Dr Alexa Mannings
alexa.mannings@nhs.net

Second Supervisor:
Professor Stephen Radley
stephen.radley@nhs.net

Other Supervisor(s):
Dr John Andrzejowski (john.andrzejowski@nhs.net)

Department:
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust

Type of Project:
Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

Aims and Objectives:
To analyse the reliability, quality and value of data collected from patients undergoing pre-operative assessment using an electronic Personal Assessment Questionnaire (ePAQ) in routine clinical practice, in particular:

  1. To critically evaluate ePAQ’s scoring algorithms for BMI and ASA grade; in particular correlation and variance between ePAQ and clinician-based assessments.
  2. To compare patient-entered data with clinician annotations in order to assess the reliability of individual items within the questionnaire.
  3. To produce descriptive statistics including missing data, completion rates and times, floor and ceiling effects, for each item within ePAQ and for different patient groups including different ASA grades and surgical specialties
  4. To analyse patient experience data (value and burden), routinely provided by patients on completion of the questionnaire

Research Methodology:
Following previous research & development conducted at STH, ePAQ has been part of routine clinical care in a city-wide, nurse-led pre-operative assessment service. By September 2020, over 20,000 patients will have completed ePAQ as part of their pre-operative assessment.
An ethically approved protocol will allow analysis and interrogation of this anonymised, prospectively collected electronic dataset. With the support of a statistician and social scientist as well as clinicians (consultant anaesthetists and specialist nurses), the student will undertake in-depth statistical analysis of the data.

Expected Outcome:

  • Provide evidence to inform updates and refinements to the questionnaire, including identifying items that may require modification, in order to further establish the psychometric properties of ePAQ.
  • Support and inform wider deployment of the ePAQ system through greater understanding of the reliability and clinical application of this web-based assessment.
  • Support novel, efficient and patient-friendly surgical care pathways, and the NHS ‘Digital 1st initiative’.
  • The team have a strong track record in research and the project is likely to lead to further publications in peer-reviewed journals as well as presentation at local, national and international meetings relating to anaesthesia and surgery.

Additional Training:
The project has the support of a Professor of Social Sciences and expert in psychometric testing and analysis of questionnaire data, including the use of specific elements of SPSS, factor analysis and reliability statistics in this context.
The student will be based in the anaesthetic and surgical departments of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, working with and supported by anaesthetists and surgeons in these clinical areas.

Ethical Approval:
Secondary data or tissue samples that was not originally collected for research - UREC or NHS REC approval required

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