We aim to develop a tool that captures the core outcomes associated with professional volunteerism and the contextual factors leading to optimal returns for different cadres of workforce.
Professor Louise Ackers of University of Salford and Dr Lucie Byrne-Davis of University of Manchester have been awarded £290k, by Health Education North West, to study the returns to the NHS of international volunteering.
The project, which will run for two years, will engage with voluntary organisations and their volunteers to agree a set of core personal and professional development outcomes that are both desired by the NHS and possible in international placements.
Professor Ged Byrne, Director of Education and Quality of Health Education North West said "there are potentially great benefits to the NHS in terms of the personal and professional development of our healthcare workforce in their working and learning oversees. At the moment we don't know how to balance these benefits against the costs. This project will help us to generate an important understanding of how we can all benefit from an innovative international approach to staff development".
Professor Ackers' and Dr Byrne-Davis' work will be grounded in the huge amount of data generated by volunteers in international placements who regularly reflect on their own development whilst on placements. These data will be supplemented by further focused interviews with volunteers in high, middle and low income countries and the organisations that organise and receive volunteers.
A Delphi approach will be used to engage with multiple volunteer organisations to reach a consensus on core outcomes that they would be prepared to measure with their own volunteers. The outcome set will then be used to generate a set of common measures that can be used to generate quantitative information about the returns to the NHS.