Encouraging collaborative learning on challenging topics

Fiona Holdsworth, Guest member of staff

School of Medical Education

Medical Sciences

What did you do?

Shaped the learning around a difficult and much feared subject.

Who is involved?

Fiona Holdsworth and Sue Campbell targeting students of the Chemotherapy Nurse Training module.

How do you do it?

On the discussion board forum of the topic on targeted therapies for cancer treatment, the students are asked to identify two biological agents (from two separate tumour groups) and discuss their mechanism of action and management of associated toxicities. They are asked to include a diagram (readily available on the internet). The students are challenged as they must discuss a drug not previously posted. With a cohort of approx 12 students this allowed for 24 drugs to be discussed maintaining breadth of learning without significant burden on each student.

The design is aimed at encouraging students to participate promptly in what’s traditionally a feared subject as those acting first have the widest choice of drugs. The role of the diagram allows a simple return to learning on a molecular level which they may not have done since undergraduate nursing study if at all but when understood thoroughly unlocks a wealth of understanding related to toxicities caused by the drug.

Why do you do it?

As alluded to, the topic of targeted therapies carries a stigma of being difficult and complex. That said biological and immunotherapy are becoming more prevalent and it is conceivable in the near future that they will be as much a mainstay of the pharmacological anticancer field as traditional chemotherapy. It is an area I am passionate about and skilled in and so wanted to break down barriers and encourage better learning.

Does it work?

The ONC8024 were the first cohort to complete it. The feedback within the discussion board was that the students had benefited from this topic in particular and felt confident this would positively influence their practice.

Contact details

Fiona Holdsworth, Faculty of  Medical Sciences Graduate School


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *