MS Foundation MasterClass 2021 winners announced!


Dr David Paling, Ciara O'Meara, Anna Hill, Alison Pease and Dr Kate Petheram

Our 13th MS MasterClass completed their Foundation module 2 this week, and have shared their workplace projects with their colleagues. The MS Academy delegates presented a range of different topics, with medication management and digital health solutions core themes amongst this year's cohort.

This year's winner was Clinical research nurse Ciara O'Meara from University Hospital Galway, who developed a social media-directed resource tool for newly diagnosed patients to minimise and discourage the use of 'Google' searches and to support MS Clinical Nurse Specialists with information and resource provision.

The simple tool, developed alongside a focus group of people with MS, provides an overview and links to trusted information sources and social media-based support (fig 1).

Figure 1: Ciara's social media resource leaflet

Ciara states on her poster,

'As healthcare professionals, within our remit of education and advocacy, we must ensure that the right outlets and social media channels are being promoted.'

She reported positive feedback from both the MS Nurse Network and focus group attendees, and intends to gather feedback from a group of consultant neurologists, a post-diagnosis focus group, and via a meeting of MS Ireland to further inform her work.

'The use of this resource tool makes navigating the world of MS more accessible for everyone – for those diagnosed, for their families, caregivers and friends and also for healthcare professionals.

Diagnosis can often be a lonely experience. Supporting the use of online outlets facilitates increased social support, interaction with others and sharing of lived experiences. Research to date has supported the use of social media in patient empowerment, a reduction in depression and increased engagement.'

The two runners up were Alison Pease, MS Clinical Nurse Specialist at West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre, and Anna Hill, a pharmacist at Queen's Medical Centre. Alison examined the longevity of virtual consultations for nurse-led MS clinics. Her audit into whether virtual consultations meet patient needs and are a viable option for providing appropriate support shared in her write-up:

'Engaging with patients and using their experience to make decisions regarding our service is a positive way to ensure that we provide the best care we can. This audit will ultimately not only help restructure our service and the way we deliver our nurse led MS clinics but will also have a positive impact on the other services within our centre.'

Anna developed a process-map of for disease-modifying treatment (DMT) Tecfidera to understand how to mitigate against risks and maximise patient safety after finding a gap in information about a patient's blood monitoring. She shared that:

'By identifying gaps in the process, we can make changes to mitigate these. It is important to learn from incidents such as these, to make the systems in place stronger and safer, rather than assuming that they are a one-off incident.

By changing the way we communicate with, and deliver important information to, patients, as well as making the best use of staff members available, we hope to have mitigated some of these risks.'

All fifteen of the classes' intermodule projects are available online in poster format, whilst the finalists' are accompanied by a short video presentation of the work. Find them in our Project section.

Encouraging excellence, developing leaders, inspiring change

MS Academy was established five years ago and in that time has accomplished a huge amount. The six different levels of specialist MS training are dedicated to case-based learning and practical application of cutting edge research. Home to national programme Raising the Bar and the fantastic workstream content it is producing, this is an exciting Academy to belong to.