Foreword by Ruth Auton

​‘Patients, with their families and carers, where appropriate, will be involved in and consulted on all decisions about their care and treatment. The NHS will actively encourage feedback from the public, patients and staff, welcome it and use it to improve its services’. (Value 4 of the NHS Constitution)

Health Education England exists to improve the quality of care for patients by ensuring the NHS has enough staff with the right skills, values and behaviours available for employment. Currently we invest around.£5 billion in education and training programmes and training placements to meet patient needs for today and tomorrow. Our Framework 15 sets out the five future workforce characteristics to help guide our decisions and achieve our purpose of improving the quality of patient care.

Our approach to patient and public involvement

HEE is committed to involving patients and the public in coproduction at every stage of our work because:

  • It’s the right thing to do – as demonstrated by our commitment to the NHS Constitution
  • It’s been shown to improve patient safety and the quality of services (see an example from cancer services here)
  • We want to develop excellence in practice, based on patient and carer need
  • Additionally, we want to ensure we meet out statutory duty to engage patients and the public in exercising our responsibilities as a public body and do this meaningfully rather than as a tick box exercise
  • We want to be accountable for the care that nurses provide to patients and carers.

The benefits

Patient, service user and carer engagement in nurse education have profound and long lasting impacts for our profession. Our education partners (Further Education Colleges and Higher Education Institutes and Universities) are often the first point of contact of nurse education for prospective individuals as they are invited for an interview onto a nursing degree programme. Having patients, service users and carers as part of that process provides a clear message to our future nurses: patients and service users are at the heart of all we do and there should be no decisions made without them.  This is supported for the professional practice of nurses, by The Nursing & Midwifery Council which includes learning from third party feedback on practice, which includes feedback from patients and carers as part of the evidence for revalidation (NMC 2015). Educationalists recognise the value of engagement and should fully embrace this concept along the continuum of the education pathway; from curriculum design and delivery to assessing students in the classroom and care environment.

Producing this guide

This guide has been developed and co-produced with patients, service users and carers who have worked with partners from professional bodies, unions, employers, and our regulator, The Nursing & Midwifery Council, to bring together in one place a guide that will support and disseminate good practice. We have looked for exemplars of practice and research internationally and locally to bring you a resource to use, whatever your involvement with nurse education. There are examples embedded in the guide that have been shared and made freely available if you are commencing this journey or looking to improve your practice, which will enable you to build your own model of patient, service user and carer engagement.

This work does not stand still and as our education standards evolve so too will this guide need updating. We will work with partners to keep this refreshed and there is an opportunity for you to contribute to our work and submit your examples that can be added to the guide.

A note about language

The partners involved in developing this work debated the phrase we should use to reflect the ‘people’ we wish to engage with nurse education.  After numerous discussions we have decided on the term ‘service users and carers’. Various organisations and policy makers use different terminology and under the umbrellas of service users and carers we are including:

  • Patients
  • Carers
  • Citizens
  • Survivors
  • Customers
  • Public contributors
  • Lay partners
  • People’s Champions
  • Storytellers
  • Academic Governance Representatives

This issue is discussed further on the page Who are service users and carers.

How to develop service user and carer involvement in Nurse Education

This resource is for individuals, groups and organisations to use to enable and improve service user and carer involvement with and in nurse education.

We have a plethora of resources and links embedded with the work, and we have themed them to help navigation. There is a significant amount of research available and we have captured many examples of exemplar practice here to help you. You maybe a service user or carer wishing to get involved with educating nurses, or a tutor who has been asked to develop a strategy for service user engagement for your education institute; No matter what your interest we hope this resource helps you.

What is covered

This Guide should help with some of the questions you may have about involving service users and carers in nurse education, such as:

Understanding the Principles

  • Knowing and understanding how and why patient, service users and carer engagement is best practice
  • Understanding the benefits it makes to the students and learners’ experience.
  • The spirit of co-production valued from the outset.

Getting Started

  • Best practice of recruiting patients, service users and carers. The guiding principles and procedures of attracting, retaining and rewarding patients, service users and carers in nurse education; recruitment, design, delivery, quality assurance, monitoring processes and assessment.
  • Building a business case: why do this? What difference does it make to care delivery?
  • Practical roles and leadership, including governance and leadership

Maintaining and Sustaining

  • models of how engagement has been developed and sustained across areas of nurse education
  • challenges and learning points from other professions and countries.

Evaluation and Continuous Improvement

  • how to evidence the value of patient service users and carer involvement to the learning outcomes
  • measuring impact.

There is an opportunity for you to contribute further evidence that we can explore and add to this work if it adds a new dimension or useful addition to the work.  Please email us.