Intercalated BSc Medical Sciences (Surgery) research projects

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

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Developing and using an app to enhance patient experience and control in head and neck cancer patients?

Main Supervisor

Mr Omar Mulla (omar.mulla1@nhs.net)

Second Supervisor

Mr Mark Watson (mark.watson11@nhs.net)

Other Supervisors

Mr Shwan Amin, Dr Rebecca Denoronha

Aim and Objectives


Background to problem

• The pressure on frontline NHS services is increasing, consequently novel solutions and new ways of working are needed.
• In surgical outpatients we are seeing large numbers of patients who have had treated head and neck cancer attending for regular follow up.
• These patients will often only make contact with a healthcare professional on the allocated appointment time; in some instances this means recurrences are picked up late.
• Phase 1 of this project will be gaining the relevant content - facts, symptoms and details needed that will be used to create spine of any future app for patient self management.

Aims/Objectives

The aim of this study is to investigate patterns of follow up and symptoms post head and cancer to allow patients to take partial control of their symptoms.

Research Methodology

Both quantitative and qualitative methods will be required:

1. Performing a literature review on quality of life measures for head and neck cancer patients.
2. Attending clinics and patient focus groups to ascertain from patients and clinicians what they would like from a patient controlled app.
3. Obtaining clinician dependent information via mass mailing to head and neck surgeons/using head and neck cancer forums for online member surveys.
4. Combining the acquired data to decide content for any future app.
5. Sharing this information with clinicians and patients to obtain feedback.

Expected Outcome

It is expected the first year of intercalation would generate the potential for two clinical papers. The first paper being a systematic review on quality of life measures for head and cancer patients and second paper about patient perceptions and data needed for patients to actively participate in their follow up. This will likely need to be tested in a small cohort of people so may generate a third paper.
These have 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.

Type of Project

Clinical project - based in the clinical environment with patients/including service evaluation

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.

Additional persons involved

Specialist head and neck nurses and ENT surgeons are very keen to work with individuals and invite them to head and neck focus groups to gauge patient compliance and help patients understand the purpose of the study.

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