Staff taking leadership
Despite the lengthy history of innovation, there remain a large number of practical challenges to involving service users and carers. Staff who lead on service user and carer involvement often report difficulties and delays in establishing arrangements for recruiting, safeguarding, training, tracking and paying public contributors.
This means that nurse education providers will need to assign a budget and dedicate staff time to the development and maintenance of service user and carer involvement.The specialist job role includes:
- developing a mission, strategy and monitored action plan
- recruiting service users and carers
- establishing clear role descriptions
- negotiating with the human resources and volunteer support department so there is clarity regarding status, and especially the relationships with contract, equal opportunities and remuneration strategies.
- Ensuring that payment arrangements are effective, timely and legal – especially in relation to tax and welfare benefit rules
- Providing supervision, pastoral and developmental support, including training
- Helping academic teachers and practice placement supervisors to make appropriate arrangements and supporting their innovations
- Evaluating and reporting the impact of service user and carer involvement in nurse education.
In addition to the dedicated role, all staff need to support service user and carer involvement, and recognise that it is everyone’s job. Training, funding and development opportunities should be made available to all staff to ensure that they are competent in the area of service user and carer involvement. For example:
- at Anglia Ruskin University, nursing students who become ‘student nurse ambassadors’ have the opportunity to attend the Patient’s Panel at Princess Alexandra Hospital and have this counted towards their course credits. This gives them a valuable opportunity to learn how patient views are shaping the work of the hospital.
- at the University of Central Lancashire, new staff visit Comensus as part of their induction.
Training for staff on service user and carer involvement
At any time in their career, staff may take the opportunity of learning about involvement. For example, these online resources provide an introduction to engagement and involvement for staff new to the field.
Have a look at the webpage on Payments and other rewards. Where service users or carers need personal support, these additional costs need to be accounted for.