Derby Graduate Uses Degree To Help Transform South Africa Hospitals

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Derby Graduate Uses Degree To Help Transform South Africa Hospitals

Date posted: 12 June 2012

A University of Derby Online graduate in South Africa is putting the knowledge he acquired during his MSc Ergonomics degree into practice by improving the design of hospitals, operating theatre and intensive care systems, and anaesthetic equipment.

Ian Findlay (56), from Somerset West, just outside of Cape Town, completed the four year part-time distance learning degree via the University of Derby Online whilst in full time employment as a practicing anaesthetist at a large local private hospital.

Recognising there were design issues in the hospital and significant room for improvement he decided to develop his knowledge and skills in this subject by re-entering higher education.

Ian explains: "After a number of years at the 'sharp end' of anaesthetics and intensive care in the hospital environment I felt that there were many design issues, from equipment to organisational, which could be improved. I was very aware of not having the necessary tools to address any of these issues so decide to explore courses in Ergonomics."

With a busy lifestyle to keep up Ian was keen to find a programme that offered flexibility and was recognised by the international ergonomics bodies, such as the Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (IEHF).

He adds: "As there were no local part-time courses available I decided to explore the option of distance learning and found that the University of Derby Online had what I was looking for. It was the only recognised MSc Ergonomics degree that fulfilled my requirements and, as I could study part-time, provided a reasonable amount of flexibility enabling me to fit my studies around my job.

"As you'd expect with an MSc the course was challenging and the standards set by the University tutors were demanding, but at the same time they were always enthusiastic, approachable and open to discussing projects or any difficulties I was having. You often hear that 'online' study is a soft option but this definitely wasn't the case."

As part of his dissertation project Ian wrote 'A comparative study of workload and performance error in the operation of mechanical and electronic flowmeters under simulated conditions'.

This study received industry recognition after winning a Discovery Health Clinical Excellence Award at the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) Congress.

Part of his prize was R7500 (approx £600), which he donated to The Homestead, a congress supported charity working with street children in South Africa by helping them get back into families and schooling.

Ian Findlay said: "Receiving recognition for my work at this level was reward enough which is why I decided to donate the prize money to The Homestead. Not only does the charity do some fantastic work with disadvantaged children, it's the Congress's chosen charity, so was the obvious choice."

Dr Miles Richardson, programme leader for the MSc Ergonomics degree, was Ian's supervisor during his dissertation and co-author of the award winning study.

He adds: "We're always delighted when our graduates go on to achieve success in their field and Ian's award is thoroughly deserved. As he discovered, online study can be ideal for professionals looking to further their education, and ultimately their career, whilst remaining in full time employment."

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