Background WORLD CUPS (Working paediatricians Overseeing Research Led and Delivered by Cardiff University Paediatric Society) was founded in November 2019 in aim to encourage research within paediatrics and child health in Wales. This initiative brings both undergraduates and paediatric healthcare professionals (HCPs) together to undertake quality improvement, research or audit projects.
Objectives It is a mutually beneficial scheme aiming to increase undergraduate’s exposure to academic paediatrics whilst supporting HCPs to complete projects, promoting health and wellbeing for children and young people. The objective of this study is to determine whether we have achieved our overall goal of increasing undergraduate confidence and awareness of paediatric research whilst also supporting the production of valuable academic work.
Methods The initial recruitment of projects was performed via promotion on social media platforms, at conferences and study days. Each month, a selection of academic projects were advertised to healthcare students in Wales on a first come, first served basis. All projects were allocated within one hour, with the majority in less than ten minutes. A retrospective review of the initiative was performed over a one-year period from November 2019 to 2020. Feedback was collected regarding student confidence pre- and post-research project.
Results Twenty-three projects were undertaken by 28 healthcare students from both Cardiff and Swansea Universities alongside 15 clinical supervisors working in paediatrics in South Wales. Seven projects have been completed so far, with two students dropping out due alternative to University commitments. Success stories include one publication in Archives of Diseases in Childhood, a further currently under peer review, three national presentations, one paediatric podcast and six medical education resources for use in local university health boards. 100% of students reported they were enthusiastic towards paediatric research and were excited by the opportunity to be involved. After completing a project, 50% felt more confident with research techniques and 38% felt confident at project initiation. 100% agreed that they had more awareness of how to undertake research alongside their future clinical careers.
Conclusions Undergraduate students typically have a high level of enthusiasm to be involved and gain experience within research but report it can often be difficult to know how. This simple initiative has supported multidisciplinary healthcare students to gain confidence, awareness and practical experience in child health research and quality improvement. Although the pandemic has interrupted both project proposals and completion significantly, WORLD CUPS has been a success and may provide a framework for future undergraduate research initiatives.
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