Our group has come up with an online patient educational tool aimed to provide convenience to the patients and their caregivers by providing accurate patient educational contents regarding radiation therapy (RT) via an online platform. We hope this e-programme can enhance their learning experiences regarding RT and its easy accessibility to any electronic devices can benefit future patients and/or their caregivers.
Experiences and learning points of being a student researcher
In a process of publishing our PEP7 prototype, there were a lot of preparations from the start of contents validation, formulated the survey questionnaire for patients and/or caregivers as well as the RTs, crafted out persuasive messages for the RTs, flyers decoration to finally obtain approval from NCCS. Franky speaking, our project faced a lot of obstacles in particular, the patient ethic clearance, however, it has been solved through our strong team spirit and collaboration from every teammate in accomplishing this challenging task. Despite our busy academic schedule, strict project deadlines, scarcity of resources, scheduling of meeting, organising and planning the timeline as well as doing presentation, I should say the fact I am honoured to be assigned in this group as every teammate is willing to spare time and work hand-in-hand in order to successfully complete the project. Team work is always performed better compared to one person working alone, because it promoted a more efficient work output and able to complete the task faster due to many minds intertwined on the same goals and objectives of the project. In addition, my mentor deserved to be mentioned here specifically for all encouragements and advices whenever the issue we encounter.
On a personal level, I benefited from conducting the PEP-7 prototype making it more engaging and information retention to patients and their caregivers, analysed the results through the post evaluation survey from the RTs and patients/caregivers, formulating the ideas and writing up in a critical way. To better improve my writing skill on the data analysis and be able to explain it critically, I have read numerous articles on ways in formulating and presenting the data. It has increased my level of motivation to learn more and read in depth enabling me to analyse it critically. From there, my writing skills has been improved greatly in terms of vocabulary and grammar as a result of engaging in reading up the related articles. Despite with the increasing importance with the information technology, the practice of writing reports or letters will remain significant in terms of pursuing my further studies. From the point of view of engaging in research articles, I found it was a very beneficial experience for me. Specifically writing up the research proposal as well as this personal reflection, it has made me better prepare myself in my future workplace as well as my degree conversion in LSBU.
Apart from that, my mentor made it clear that it was important to critically analyse related issues in research proposal rather than just offering description of the issues and supplying calculations. The mentor had stressed many times that critical analysis on data collection and discussions are the elements of the work that increased its value. For the same reason I had to revise my research proposal several times until my mentor was satisfied with the level of critical analysis the work had included. Although, such an approach to work seemed to be very challenging and confusing during the write-up, I appreciated the value of critical analysis once the final work was completed. The skills of critical analysis that I have developed and applied in research proposal can easily be applied when real issues in health care setting would need to be resolved by me in the future in my professional capacity.
In addition, my time-management skills have also been improved by the end of the research project. This is because there was a specific deadline research report I had to adopt some principles related to time management in order to be able to submit my work on time. These principles included setting specific deadlines for each chapter of the work, and above all, dramatically cutting the amount of time I used to browse social networking sites on the internet. I can highlight this fact as one of the most substantial gains in a personal level. This is because prior to the research experience I used to spend several hours a day browsing a set of social networking sites with no real benefit whatsoever. However, once the priority was given to the Research Project, this bad habit was dealt with effectively and irreversibly.
How to work in a group
Contributions from team members
Shirlynn, as a group leader, who assigned to lead the group by conducting group meeting, keeping track on the progress of project and responsible to split the jobs to the teammates. Meanwhile, Shirlynn, Chin Leng and I are responsible in generating and analysing the data collection by using SPSS and doing the write-up accordingly. On the other hand, Kok Chuan is assigned to decorate the layout and contents of poster making it more engaging with attractive illustrations while Bonan is responsible to create a slide presentation in a creative manner. Last but no least, Jia Min and Li Wen are the final editors in finalising and editing the contents of proposal in a more concise and straight forward manner.
Challenges and contributions
To summarise, completing the Research Report has increased the level of my preparedness to join the full-time workforce and successfully utilise my energy and knowledge. In my opinion the biggest benefit I received from enrolling to this course of study is that the course of study, the Research Report has made me to believe in my skills and capabilities and this has also awoke my desire to approach studying as a lifelong process. Moreover, I have obtained a set of professional and personal gains as a result of completing the Research Report that include the development of a critical mindset, improvement my writing and time management skills and enhancement of the level of my self-confidence.