Using Video-Reflexive Ethnography on an Acute Medical Unit: Methodological Challenges, Solutions and Opportunities within a Complex and Busy Clinical Setting

Jane Dickson (Lead / Corresponding author), Jessica Messman, Bruce Guthrie, Suzanne Grant

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Abstract

Video-Reflexive Ethnography (VRE) is an innovative and participatory research and improvement methodology that involves videoing in-situ work practices and collaboratively analysing this footage with participants during reflexive sessions. This involves participants ‘slowing down’, engaging reflexively with their everyday working practices, and taking time out to discuss issues collectively. VRE has increasingly been used across a range of different healthcare settings. However, one setting that has received less attention is the Acute Medical Unit (AMU). AMUs are busy short-stay hospital departments with very high patient throughput and large multidisciplinary teams where patients receive initial assessment, diagnosis and treatment before being moved to other wards or settings. The aim of this study was to examine how VRE as a research and improvement methodology can be applied, in the busy and complex setting of an AMU. In this paper we outline some of the methodological challenges encountered in this setting and discuss how these were transformed into opportunities and solutions. Then, we evaluate our work by using the four guiding principles at the heart of VRE (care, collaboration, reflexivity and exnovation) to test if, and how, the methodology can be used in such a complex and busy setting without losing its methodological rigor and impact. We show how it is possible to initiate and achieve the core principles of VRE in the complex and busy AMU setting through careful planning, constant revision of data collection methods, remaining highly flexible and adaptable to the spatial and temporal rhythms of the ward and being sensitive to hierarchical inter- and intra-professional relationships and vulnerabilities. Finally, we share recommendations for using VRE in other busy and complex settings.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Volume23
Early online date19 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • ethnography
  • focus groups
  • methods in qualitative Inquiry
  • Observational research
  • photovoice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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