Name of the activity: Wave of Research: Health Research Workshops for Undergraduates

Country/NMO: Nepal (NMSS)

Program: Teaching Medical Skills

Type of the activity: Capacity Building (Training or Workshop). Teaching and develop knowledge, skills and techniques in a particular field. While training can have any form, workshops are more formal and also include exchange of information between participants.

General description:

Nepal has one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in all of Asia. Most medical curricula are therefore specifically geared towards producing more clinicians for the country and provide very little attention to developing essential research skills in the health workforce. To develop competency of medical students studying in various levels on the basics of research and scientific writing, NMSS SCOME and NMSS SCORE developed a series of training sessions on essential research skills with curricula based on the students’ specific needs. The Research Department of the institute of Medicine (where the program was conducted) facilitated the process of curriculum development, the actual training sessions and the simulation sessions as well. Pre and post questionnaires were used to evaluate the program along with subjective feedback from the participants. The program intends to have five subsequent sessions, each dealing with a specific area of research.

Focus area:

Research basics for medical practitioners

Problem statement:

Nepal has one of the lowest doctor-patient ratios in all of Asia. Most medical curricula are therefore specifically geared towards producing more clinicians for the country and provide very little attention to developing essential research skills in the health workforce. Although initially beneficial, less researchers being produced leads to weakly founded policies, and ultimately poor national health. As such, it is important that we impart basic research skills on young medical students.

Target groups:

Medical students, Healthcare Students

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, Healthcare Students, Doctors, Other health professionals

Objectives and indicators of success:

1. To develop competency of medical students studying in various levels on the basics of research including ethics, scientific writing and finding dissemination.

Indicators: a. Pre and Post questionnaire scores b. No of sessions conducted c. Qualitative feedback

2. To create opportunities for application and evaluation of students’ theoretical knowledge on research

Indicators: Number of simulation exercises, Number of hours spent on simulations, Expert evaluation of the documents produced at the end of the simulation

3. To arouse the general interest and motivation of medical students on health research

Indicator: Student number and motivation

Methodology:

* A sample survey was first taken among the students of the Institute of Medicine (IOM, where the program was conducted) to assess the specific needs of potential program participants on research.

*Once the needs were determined (in our case, lack of theoretical knowledge especially concerning ethics and statistics, and lack of opportunities for testing their theoretical knowledge), a training curriculum was constructed with help from the research department (RD) of IOM by NMSS SCOME and SCORE

*Participants were selected based on motivation letters.

*In the first one-day introductory session, the first half was used to impart theoretical knowledge via lectures, while the next was entirely used for simulations facilitated by experts from the RD.

*The results of the simulation were presented and critiqued upon.

*Feedback was taken from all participants for the next session.

*As per the feedback, curricula were developed for 5 subsequent sessions, to be all held by the end of July.

Plans for evaluation:

1. Pre and post questionnaires taken before and at the end of each session: This will help evaluate the efficacy of the overall program.

2. The critique received from experts/facilitators on the documents produced at the end of the simulation exercises (example: sample proposal) will help gain a subjective perspective into the efficacy of the first halves of these sessions, i.e. the halves oriented at imparting theoretical knowledge

3. The number of applicants received for each subsequent session will help evaluate our third objective, i.e. to raise general motivation towards research.

4. General qualitative feedback taken during and at the end of each session will help steer the program in the direction of students’ needs.