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The Value and Impact of Patients and Carers Supporting Professional Healthcare Training

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, June 01, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This research asks questions about integration of the ‘Patient and Carer Group’ in training programmes at the University of Leicester Schools of Medicine Allied Health. It will follow the hermeneutic phenomenological approach informed by Heidegger [1889-1976] and Gadamer [1900-2002] because this work is multifaceted and dialectical with multiple levels of meaning within it. This interpretive study seeks to reveal those aspects of patients and carers, students and academic staff concerning what it means to engage patient and carers within health care training. The researcher will dwell within the Patient and Carer Group to gain deeper understanding of the nature of events experienced in everyday life, a more thoughtful approach to development of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ part of a faculty might mean for a range of groups including ethnic and marginalised groups.


• How do members of this group experience being part of a university?
• How do students value the in-put into their training of patients/carers?
• What are the challenges?
• How has the faculty received, valued the Patient and Carer Group?


The patient’s voice in healthcare education has moved from a passive role to a more active person-centred role where patients engage in teaching as partners to share their lived experiences (Spencer et al., 2011). Learning together shapes professional attitudes for compassion and empathy, while seeking greater understandings of how to involve patients in all aspects of their care, including shared decision-making (Towle et al., 2016; Anderson et al., 2011).

However, many health and social care programmes are still working to understand what it means to involve patients and carers in a curriculum (Towle et al., 2016). Progress in patient involvement in medical education remains light touch with calls for theoretically informed perspectives (Spencer, 2016; Regan de Bere, & Nunn, 2016). Recent statements on the state of patient involvement were concerned that: “Involvement is often limited to a specific population of patients rather than reflecting the diversity of lived experiences…” (Towel et al., 2016 pg.19).

Leicester Medical School formally launched a partnership agreement with patients in 2016. The ‘Patient and Carer Group’ has over 70 members, a formal accountable system, ethical principles and works to advance teaching and learning. Since commencement there have been numerous challenges in managing expectations, faculty development, cost and benefits to the curriculum and for representation the city’s diverse populations.

Entry requirements

UK Bachelor Degree with minimum 2:1 in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

University of Leicester English language requirements apply (where applicable)

How to apply

Please refer to the ‘How to Apply’ section here -

Funding Notes

3 year UK/EU tuition fee waiver

Stipend at UKRI rates


Anderson, ES., Ford, J. & Thorpe, LN. (2011). Learning to Listen: Improving students communication with disabled people. Medical Teacher, 32,1-9.
Regan de Bere, S. & Nunn S. (2016). Towards a pedagogy for patient and public involvement in medical education. Medical Education, 50(1), 79-92.
Spencer, J. (2016). Some activity but still not much action on patient and public engagement. Medical Education, 50(1), 5-7.
Spencer, J., Godolphin, W., Carpenko, N. & Towle, A. (2011). Can Patients be teachers? Involving patients and service users in healthcare professionals’ education. The Health Foundation: London.
Towle A, et al.,. (2016). The patient’s voice in health and social care professional education: the Vancouver Statement. International Journal of Health Governance, 21(1), 18-25.

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