An Interview with BAA Student of the Year Elisha Jawaid
Manchester University student Elisha Jawaid won the Oticon Student of the Year Award during the recent British Academy of Audiology conference. We took the opportunity to ask Elisha some questions and get a taste of what the rising audiologist feels is important in hearing care. Oh, and good news — it looks like we’re in good hands with the new generation of audiologists.
The theme of your dissertation was person-centered care. Why did you choose that topic?
When you look at audiology and the work we do, in its simplest form, it’s all about the patient and clinician interaction. As audiologists we are essentially the vessels which support and guide patients along their journey with hearing loss right from the beginning. That’s why I believe that effective and high-quality care is heavily dependent on the patient-clinician relationship, and at the heart of this is the delivery of person-centered care, which is why I chose the topic.
Do you think person-centered care has received adequate attention within audiology in terms of studies and uptake by clinics?
In other areas of healthcare looking at chronic conditions, research has shown PCC improves health outcomes, patient satisfaction and overall quality of life, as well as being more cost effective. Despite research having shown that PCC is appropriate and relevant to audiology, especially due to the negative impact of hearing loss on an individual’s quality of life and mental health, PCC in audiology has received much less attention. As it stands there is no gold standard definition of what PCC means in audiology and therefore a lack of research exploring Its impact. Therefore, my research proposal starts with trying to define PCC, which would be the foundations for further research on the area looking at clinical implications alongside barriers and facilitators.
What is your definition of PCC in audiology?
For me, PCC is all about understanding my patient’s world. What is important to them? What do they care about and value and what do they want from me as their care provider? I believe PCC is about giving patients a voice and making shared decisions. Again, it is about seeing the person in front of you providing holistic care rather than seeing a pair of ears. It’s necessary to understand that hearing loss is not necessarily just a physical loss but a loss in other areas of the patient’s life. For me, it’s all about giving a personal touch. No two conversations or consultations are the same. I believe in injecting my personality into consultations and giving my patients the platform to do the same.
Did you receive training in PCC at school and what did it consist of?
I was fortunate enough to study at Manchester University where lecturers are very passionate about PCC. We had modules on adult rehabilitation where different patient user groups came into the university and spoke to us about their experiences, and that is something you can’t teach from a textbook. Above all, I think my best experience was the module on counselling skills. I was able to explore and reflect on the way I communicate. I learned the power of certain phrases and wording that displays compassion and sincerity.
Is there anything missing in audiology curriculums?
I think it would be amazing if counseling and communication skills were taught as part of every university degree. Perhaps also a greater understanding of how hearing loss affects an individual, again bringing that human and emotional touch which underpins why we do what we do. I think as students you can get caught up in the more technical side of things because everything is so new, but I can't emphasis enough the importance of reflection — that’s how we put theoretical knowledge and real-life experience together and ensure we continue to learn and grow.
Where are you working now?
I’m working with Boots Hearingcare as part of the graduate scheme. I can honestly say I love my job! I go home every day knowing I’ve made a difference because I’m given the time and resources to do so.
Long term goal?
That’s a good question. To be honest I don’t know! At this early stage of my career I just want to focus on taking all I’ve learned during my degree and putting it into action. I’m very keen to learn and experience as much as possible. I can feel my confidence growing every day in clinic and I want to continue that growth and expand my knowledge base. I must say, I’m very excited about the future and having attended the recent BAA conference I am feeling very inspired!