Exploring student perceptions of health and infection: an interactive staff: student partnership scheme

Abdul Fatah Abdul Yekeen, Jake Bell, Alex Boorman, Chris Hancock, Alison Kelly, Emily Kelly, Hilda M Mulrooney, Ricarda Streich


Personal health & wellbeing are rated more highly in those with higher educational qualifications than those without, and good health & wellbeing are likely to impact upon student attendance and hence attainment at university. It is important to understand factors which may affect perceived health and wellbeing from a student perspective in order to develop university-specific campaigns to correct misinformation. In addition, multidisciplinary working is characteristic in the post-graduation world, but is difficult to truly replicate within formal university teaching.  This project had two aims. First, through a cross-disciplinary staff-student collaboration, to explore student perceptions of health and wellbeing in Kingston University. Second, to enable students from a range of disciplines to work in active partnership with each other and with academic staff. A quiz was completed by almost 300 undergraduate students. Results from this and focus group discussions demonstrated reasonable knowledge of a range of lifestyle risk factors affecting health, but misinformation about the safety of vaccines and the importance of nutrition, activity and adequate sleep for maximising health, wellbeing and thus, potentially, university attainment. Future work is planned with Kingston University undergraduate students to address identified misconceptions. Student partners highly rated the opportunity for active learning, partnership working with staff and being part of a cross-disciplinary project team.

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