Anna Janssen is a PhD candidate within Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney. Her PhD is focused on the use of digital games in health education. She is also employed as a Health Technologist in the Research in Implementation Science and eHealth Group, within the Faculty of Health Sciences. In this interview we explore her work in the use of digital games as a vehicle for health education.
Can you tell us a little about your research/work and what led you into this area of study?
I am currently finishing up my PhD, which is focused on the use of multiplayer digital games for delivering education to health professionals and health professionals in training. I have always been very interested in the history of digital games, and their impact on society. I have also done a lot of work in the area of online education in the health sector, and feel there is a huge opportunity to use digital games more broadly to engage adults in life long learning. It was this combination of interests and experiences that set me on my current path researching the use of digital games in health education.
What implications do you think this work has in the field or practice (e.g. clinical care if relevant)?
I think there is an increasing focus on a cooperative and team-based workforce. The use of multiplayer digital games could have a big impact fostering a strong team dynamic for both students and professionals. I also think lifelong learning and professional development is becoming increasingly important for professionals wishing to stay on top of new findings in their fields, and technologies such as digital games could really help engage people in ongoing training and professional development.
What have been the biggest challenges that you’ve faced in your research so far?
I am working full time whilst doing my Phd, so finding time to do my research is always a challenge. I have been very lucky to have a wonderful support network around me, through my research supervisors, my workmates and all my friends and family. Having a strong support network has really helped me face challenges as they have cropped up.
Have you had any surprises or unexpected findings along the way?
The research journey is filled with surprises; I think that is what makes it so exciting! I think the biggest surprise is how quickly the PhD has flown by. When I started I thought the end point was so far away, but now it is a few weeks a way I can’t believe it ever seemed distant.
What advice would you have for someone with an interest in this area of research? Any useful resources or networks they should know about?
Research into the use of digital games is a fantastic area. There are so many different questions to answer, and aspects of digital games to study. If I had one piece of advice it would be to choose a facet you are passionate about and dive in.
Anna Janssen is a PhD candidate within Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney. Her PhD is focused on the use of digital games in health education. She is also employed as a Health Technologist in the Research in Implementation Science and eHealth Group, within the Faculty of Health Sciences. In this role she has been involved in a number of eHealth research projects, including investigating methods for engaging health professionals in online forums, and exploring the impact of technology on oncology MDTs in Western Sydney. She is currently supporting a research project investigate the impact of a patient portal on patients, carers and hospital staff in a peadetric hospital in Sydney.