International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleReflecting on action research exploring informal complaints management by nurses and midwives in an NHS trust: transformation or maintaining the status quo?
Type of ArticleCritical reflection on practice development
Author/sAnki Odelius, Helen Allan, Billie Hunter, Karen Bryan, Ann Gallagher, Wendy Knibb
ReferenceVolume 2, Issue 2, Article 8
Date of PublicationNovember 2012
KeywordsAction research, acute NHS trusts, informal complaints, midwives, nurses, participation, transformative learning theory

Background:Little is known about how nurses and midwives manage informal complaints at ward level or if effective communication at this level can improve service delivery and reduce the number of formal complaints in NHS trusts in the UK.

Aims and objectives:Working in partnership with a local NHS trust, the RESPONSE project uses action research methodology to explore the role of communication in the management of informal complaints in the trust. The aim of the project is to develop a guide for best practice. This paper presents a critical reflection informed by transformative learning theory on the use of action research methodology in this context.

Conclusions andimplications for practice: Action research is a valuable tool for transformative learning, practice development and improved patient experience in acute NHS trusts. It requires a high level of commitment to ‘power sharing’ and perseverance. This is particularly so in relation to sustained participation, a core premise of action research, which necessitates:

  • An inclusive, pragmatic, flexible and creative approach
  • A continuous questioning and pre-empting of participants’ needs
  • An acceptance of the fact that participation may vary over the course of a project and that this in itself may facilitate participation
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This article by Anki Odelius, Helen Allan, Billie Hunter, Karen Bryan, Ann Gallagher, Wendy Knibb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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