PPIE Award Winner: Doubleday Student Society #TheSmileBehindTheMask campaign

by | Apr 28, 2022 | PPIE Award Winners | 0 comments

In this blog series we will be featuring our award winners and highly commended recipients from the Faculty’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to PPIE’ awards. Showcasing the inspirational and outstanding commitment to PPIE that has made a positive difference to our community and highlighting the amazing events, activities, people and groups from across the Faculty.

Our third blog in this series will feature #TheSmileBehindTheMask, an innovative social media campaign aimed to help healthcare professionals and students on clinical placement to communicate more effectively while wearing facemasks. The team won the Student covid-19 category for the 2021 awards.

The Doubleday Student Society launched a new campaign in 2020 for healthcare professionals and students on clinical placement which aimed to help communication and empathy with patients during the COVID-19 mask-wearing era.

PPE (e.g. facemasks) plays a vital role in keeping all of us safe, not least healthcare professionals and medical students.  However, the wearing of face coverings can sometimes be intimidating, scary, or impersonal for patients; and it can also make communication more difficult. Emotions like empathy can also have a non-verbal component which can be impossible to show while wearing a mask.

The idea was inspired by Calisha Allen, a newly-graduated medical student, who reflected on her time as an interim foundation doctor. Calisha felt that loss of facial expressions as part of communication impeded her ability to fully show empathy towards her patients. This became especially difficult when talking about sensitive issues.

By taking part in this campaign, healthcare professionals/students were able to show non-verbal components like empathy even with the hindrance of PPE. This helped make a difference to their relationships with patients as it showed that communication, care and compassion continues to be at a high standard.

It also resulted in increasing community engagement between healthcare professionals and students across the UK with the addition of sharing top tips for communicating in PPE.

The #TheSmileBehindTheMask campaign asked people to post:

  • two ‘selfies’
    1. smiling without a mask
    2. smiling with a mask
  • top tips for communicating in PPE
  • tag the Doubleday Centre Student Society Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts

Professor Robina Shah, Director of the Doubleday Centre commented:

“We are absolutely delighted with the innovation, insight and collaboration our Doubleday Student Society has used to design this campaign.

“It’s a great example, of the value we place on patient partnership between students and healthcare professionals and I am very grateful to all our students for leading the way with such vision, compassion and enthusiasm.”

The student society led the way with such vision, compassion and enthusiasm when creating this campaign during a time of great change. It is a great example, of the value the Doubleday Centre places on the patient partnership between students and healthcare professionals.

Find out more:

To find out more about PPIE: watch our short film, sign up to the monthly Public Engagement Digest, visit the PPIE blog, or contact srbmh@manchester.ac.uk.

To read more about other PPIE Award winners visit here