Peter Bates > Service user and carer involvement in nurse education > Measure success

Measure success

Some key performance indicators

We suggest here a number of ways to measure the extent to which the learning provider is developing an effective structure for service user and carer involvement in nurse education. These indicators do not tell the whole story on their own, but they may offer a number of starting points and show improvement over time.

  • The dedicated budget and whole-time equivalent staffing available to work on the service user and carer agenda
  • The percentage of candidates who are selected by a panel that included a service user or carer.
  • The number of module handbooks that report service user and carer involvement in module design and live teaching.
  • The proportion of the course reading list that is written from a service user or carer perspective, rather than written from an academic perspective.
  • The percentage of ‘live’ teaching or co-teaching hours delivered by or with service users and carers compared with academics
  • Student evaluation scores on the sessions delivered by or with service users and carers compared to teaching delivered by academics or clinicians. You may wish to track student attendance to find out if these sessions are more or less popular than those taught by academic tutors – but only if this popularity measure and the ensuing action is applied to all lecturers!
  • Service user and carer evaluation of the students’ level of engagement in the learning opportunity.
  • The number of service users and carers involved in specific ways with the learning provider, and their demographic profile.
  • The number of committees or working groups where service users and carers are present, compared with the number where such participation would be appropriate.
  • the proportion of specific recommendations by service users and carers that are taken up.

Reports and evaluations

Some of these metrics can be combined with stories and descriptions of activities in an annual report, such as this one from Bournemouth University. From time to time, it may be helpful to commission an independent review, such as the one here commissioned by the University of Nottingham, In addition, shorter reviews of individual aspects of work may also reveal the impact of service user and carer involvement, such as in this short exploration by Derby University.

​Feedback to service users and carers

Service users and carers will want to know whether their input made a difference.See the Further Reading webpage to look at research into the impact of service user and carer involvement in teaching. A meaningful evaluation of the impact of service user and carer involvement in nurse education would include some kind of fidelity index to check out whether or not the involvement activity was delivered to a satisfactory standard.

External assessment

Inspection teams (such as those from HCPC and NMC) may include service users and carers, and may wish to interview service users and carers who have been involved in learning provision before validating courses.

Training in evaluation

Some general training in how to evaluate a public engagement programme is available here.


  1. In Surrey, the Service user and carer group track the key performance indicators for service user and carer involvement in teaching. Senior managers attend the group, and there are also places on the Senior Management Team for service users
  2. Wolverhampton uses a suite of 7 performance indicators which are reported to the oversight group that tracks all the metrics for all the strategies in the department
  3. Count how many modules have service users and carers coming in as guest lecturers at some point. At Hull it is about one third, in Essex, about three quarters of clinical modules and in Canterbury about 90%. In Hertfordshire, the group felt that chasing this metric could lead to tokenism, so alternative approaches were used, with a particular focus on longer-term connections, rather than single lectures from a stranger.  At Bucks New University, students hear from a service user or carer 6-9 times during their course.