Publicity for prospective students
The first publicity material that potential students see will influence their choice of learning provider, so it is important to provide information about service user and carer activities on your website and marketing materials. The visibility of your service user and carer activities, whether in student recruitment, curriculum design and delivery, or assessment; may well affect the decisions that potential students make about where to study.
This introductory leaflet from the University of Sunderland places the service user and carer contribution to nurse education in the first sentence. Similar approaches in other disciplines are demonstrated at the University of Plymouth where the publicity from podiatry here sets service user and carer involvement as a key feature of the course, the introductory information about the BSc Paramedic Practitioner course here specifies that teaching will be delivered by service users and carers, and this brochure about social work commits to service user and carer involvement throughout the programme.
Once on the course, most of the detail about the curriculum, teaching modules and practice placements will be provided in course handbooks, whether electronically or in hard copy. These communications media need to show how service users and carers have shaped the content and style of delivery, whether in the classroom or in a clinical setting.
Informing the Community
Information may be provided to the wider community to explain how nurses are educated or in an effort to recruit service users and carers to roles within the learning environment. Thus a further education college may run a focus group to find out more about carers’ experience of receiving care, a university department may seek service users to assist with teaching, and a mentor may ask for feedback on a student nurse’s performance in the workplace. Any messages aimed at service users and carers need to be clearly presented, and comply with the Accessible Information Standard. Help is available from the Patient Information Forum and you can access free, online training on accessible information here. Clear messages can help to engage service users and carers in the activities of the university or clinical area. Not a lot of information needs to be provided at the first contact – see this flyer from the University of Sunderland as an example.
In addition, wider messages that disseminate news about the activities of the learning provider or clinical service, should include regular messages about the partnership work between academics and service users/carers. These news reports will help to recruit new service users and carers, improve feedback and help existing contributors to know that their efforts are valued and add to the overall partnership relationship between the community and the organisation. Conferences and newsletters should include service users and carers as lecturers here and authors here, as well as audience members and readers.
Some organisations have created dedicated webpages that explain how service users and carers can get involved in nurse education. See an example from Essex and many more on the Networks and Links page.