Storytelling in Antimicrobial Research: Impact on Successful Antimicrobial Resistance Research Outcomes

The Power of Storytelling in Sustainable Combating Antimicrobial Resistance Towards Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3) By: Rasha Abdelsalam Elshenawy
Published in Microbiology
Storytelling in Antimicrobial Research: Impact on Successful Antimicrobial Resistance Research Outcomes
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Storytelling in Antimicrobial Research: Impact on Successful Antimicrobial Resistance Research Outcomes

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a rapidly escalating pandemic, responsible for over 1.2 million deaths in 2019 and projected to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050. Recognised by the WHO as a top public health threat, AMR has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Antibiotic resistance research is crucial for understanding prescribing behaviours and implementing effective antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). Storytelling in antimicrobial research is emerging as a tool to raise public awareness and involve patients in AMR research. This study explored AMS and developed an antibiotic dashboard by examining antibiotic usage in healthcare settings in the UK.


The Tale of Two Pandemics

Once upon a time, a couple was admitted to the COVID-19 ICU ward, both suffering from COVID pneumonia. The husband received treatment, recovered, and was sent home. However, the wife's condition deteriorated rapidly due to Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) bacteria. Fortunately, an antibiotic reserved for such cases was available, and it saved her life. This tale highlights the convergence of two pandemics: COVID-19 and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) aims to ensure the effective and appropriate use of antibiotics.


Research Approach

The project comprised three studies. The first study conducted a systematic literature review to investigate the implementation of AMS in acute care settings before and during the pandemic. The second study involved a retrospective cross-sectional review of 640 hospitalised adult records to evaluate antibiotic prescribing for respiratory infections. The third study was a cross-sectional, prospective survey of 240 healthcare professionals to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions towards AMS. Together, these studies provided a comprehensive understanding of AMS practices and antibiotic prescribing trends, offering actionable insights to improve AMS strategies and combat AMR effectively.

To raise awareness and engagement, a storytelling approach incorporating visual, audio, and graphical elements was used (Figure 1).  The study protocol was reviewed by the Citizens Senate and registered with the ISRCTN registry and Octopus.

Figure 1. Storytelling Poster for the Antibiotic Research Project.

Storytelling in Antimicrobial Resistance Research


Key Outcomes

Storytelling enhanced public awareness, improved healthcare professional knowledge, and increased survey participation rates. It fostered multidisciplinary collaboration, answered research questions, and achieved study objectives. This approach promoted actionable recommendations and tangible outputs such as the antimicrobial dashboard and AMS framework.


Final Thoughts

Storytelling as a research tool in antimicrobial research proved instrumental in achieving high participation rates and gaining insights into AMR and AMS practices. The findings underscore the importance of innovative, multidisciplinary approaches and the potential impact of tailored storytelling on successful AMR research outcomes.

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Antimicrobial Resistance
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Microbiology > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials > Antimicrobial Resistance
Antibiotics
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Microbiology > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials > Antibiotics
Antimicrobials
Life Sciences > Health Sciences > Biomedical Research > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials
Antimicrobial Resistance
Life Sciences > Health Sciences > Biomedical Research > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials > Antimicrobial Resistance
Antimicrobials
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Microbiology > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials
Antibiotics
Life Sciences > Health Sciences > Biomedical Research > Medical Microbiology > Antimicrobials > Antibiotics