Our story so far
Middlesex University in partnership with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust piloted the first iteration of MyCA in 2014 following successful funding from Health Education England (HEE).
The project was initially called The Care Academy (Mental Health) and the aim in the first year was:
- Working within the framework of a knowledge building community
- Creating an accessible learning led culture
- Co-production with service users/carers
- Enabling creative and collaborative working ideas
- Modelling skills for lifelong learning and innovation
- Enhancing recruitment and retention
- Building social capital within the partnership
- Making learning and connecting with experts (local, national international) more accessible
- Creating CPD elements to empower staff-led continuous learning
Following the success of the first phase, HEE encouraged a second application in 2015 for funding, to take forward the project and extend the membership to include Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust.
This expansion provided further opportunity to enhance the network and combine the efforts of all three partners around learning. There was an acknowledgement that sharing of learning resources and increasing the ‘reach’ and the involvement of ‘local experts’ across both Trusts and the University’ would provide benefits and savings to what is essentially a resource-hungry and time demanding endeavour (i.e. CPD). This new funding also enabled the project to test out the proof of concept, through many iterations over the next few years.
In January 2017 an Education Network Event at Middlesex University took place with staff from each of the organisations, a wide range of service users organisations as well as third sector community-based organisations. We launched our refreshed brand and website www.mycareacademy.org and set out the following aims and objectives:
- We aim to enable our workforce and partners in care to harness and share local talent, expertise and skills by embracing digital solutions to connect, collaborate and co-create to deliver world-class care.
- We launched @mycareacademy Twitter account as a digital community of practice.
- Having signed up to the 4Pi National Involvement Standards, we set out our plans to recruit a group of mental health service users to work with us as Experts by Experience. Working with mental health service users was seen as a cornerstone of MyCA.
- We launched our pilot using Slack as a collaboration tool and our ‘Knowledge Bank’. A summary of the pilot is available to view here.
- We set out our learning themes for the year ahead and shared our vision for our virtual classroom using Moodle as our pilot platform. We completed an evaluation of this pilot in July 2017 and the summary is available in this report.
Later that year we launched our Blog and Events page on the website. Blogging enables healthcare staff to reflect and share their learning with others as well as elevating best practice. We reached out to all staff and students through their organisation networks and offered support and guidance to create a blog.
Our events page offers a wide range of mostly free events that staff may not come across in their usual day-to-day practice, that are available in London for staff to access to support their learning and network. We also promote key events taking place by our partners to support and elevate the work of our colleagues.
Following an independent evaluation of MyCA in August 2018 (Report of the ‘My Care Academy’ stakeholder audit) and agreement of the recommendations by the Board our objectives moving forward:
- A knowledge-building community embracing digital solutions to connect, collaborate and co-create learning to achieve outstanding care.
- Development of eLearning using Articulate Storyline authoring software for uploading to ESR for Trust staff (NHS learning platform). Elearning would be available to Middlesex University students on Moodle. Learning themes would develop from priorities identified by the partners.
- MyCA Twitter account will be used as a digital community of practice and MyCA will continue to support staff in their use of this platform.
- Blogging will continue to be used as bite-sized learning and posted up to the website.
- Our events page continues to focus on low-cost events in London as well as the events within the partnership.
- The operational structure was reconfigured to acknowledge the change in work plan and priorities.
We have continued to progress the work of MyCA and in 2019 we created an illustrative poster to share with others to promote our key aims and objectives.
 Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2003). Knowledge Building. In J. W. Guthrie (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Education, Second Edition (pp.1370-1373). New York: Macmillan Reference, USA