Including children and young people

We start from the position that children and young people should have the same opportunity as adults to co-produce nurse education. For example, members of the NHS Youth Forum generated some questions and statements here that might be used in student or staff recruitment and some top tips about involving young people in decision making. Some adjustments may need to be considered, including:

  • Ethical practice. Like with all participation, it is vital to ensure that the approach is neither exploitative nor coercive and does no harm. This demands listening with humility, so that unforeseen problems are rapidly spotted and dealt with.
  • Reward. Children are no more or less willing to volunteer than adults, and their labour is as worthy of reward as that of adults.
  • Support. Like some adults, some children and young people will need another person with them, or involved closely in their activities. This may double the costs of the project, especially in travel expenses and refreshments, but perhaps too in other ways to reward and recognise their contribution. Care is needed to ensure that the voice of the young person is heard separately to that of their supporter.
  • Concentration and attention span. Like some adults, some children and young people will need to make short, focused contributions then have convenient space and time to relax. This means you may need play supervisors and toys or ipads.
  • Plain language. Working with children and some adults demands careful preparation so that everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. Jargon must be eliminated and sessions prepared to identify the precise point where the children can add value.