Peter Bates > Service user and carer involvement in nurse education > Student recruitment

Student recruitment

“Approved education institutions, together with practice learning partners, must… ensure that service users and representatives from relevant stakeholder groups are engaged in partnership in student recruitment and selection ” Realising professionalism: Standards for education and training Part 1: Standards framework for nursing and midwifery education Published 17 May 2018, Standard 2:7.

Since 2015, Health Education England has expected Values Based Recruitment to be used to select the most appropriate workforce, from student selection through to the most senior appointments. NHS Values and the 6Cs from the Commissioning Board Chief Nursing Officer and Department of Health Chief Nursing Adviser together sum up the values that should shape these decisions.

​Service users and carers should be involved in the process by which students are recruited (you may wish to check out the webpages on Student Assessment and Clinical Placements too, as these are also places where service users and carers are using their skills to assess students). The process you use to review your approach to student recruitment can also include service users and carers, Possible mechanisms for involving service users and carers in student recruitment include:

  • They may attend sessions that introduce the learning provider to the candidates and explain their role.
  • They may undergo training to develop their understanding of the process, selection criteria, equal opportunities considerations, decision making and appeals processes.
  • They may take a part in a role-play of a patient interview that is then assessed by others. At King’s College London, service users and carers have created a digital story that is used at one station in the multiple mini interview (MMI) process.
  • They may join the group that decides on selection criteria, observes sample interviews and suggests changes.
  • Each selection panel may include one or more public contributors.
  • One of the ‘multiple mini interview’ stations may be staffed by public contributors. At King’s, the person who appears on the digital story does not staff the station where it is used.
  • They may formally score candidates and have equal voting power to other panel members.
  • Data may be collected and analysed to find out what proportion of students met a service user/carer during their section process, how often the views of public contributors align with those of clinical or academic staff, what happens when there is disagreement, and whose assessment is the best predictor of career success.
  • They may be members of the panel that reviews the process by which students are recruited.


  • At the University of Wolverhampton, service users and staff attend annual training together on student selection
  • At Teesside University and De Montfort University, service users and carers have helped to design interview questions and scenarios.
  • At the University of Essex and the University of Southampton, service users and carers observe a group discussion and score individual candidates
  • At Birmingham City University, adults with learning disabilities shaped the interview questions and then were filmed asking them, so that applicants watched them on ipad and answered to camera.
  • At De Montford University and Edge Hill University, service users and carers who are part of a selection panel may adapt questions or add new questions spontaneously as the need arises in order to make a judgement against the clearly defined selection criteria.
  • At Anglia Ruskin University, service users and carers staff one of the stations in the Multiple Mini Interview circuit and then the scores from all the stations are aggregated.
  • At Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Manchester, service users and carers are full members of the selection panel. The panel has a discussion and then awards a single score.
  • At University Campus Suffolk, service users and carers are full members of the selection panel and submit their individual scores for aggregation to form the panel decision.
  • At Birmingham City University, service users have helped with moderation of the student recruitment process.
  • At Bucks New University, service users and carers joined academics in the panel that reviewed the process by which students were recruited and recommended changes.
  • At the University of Hertfordshire, children from a primary school helped with the process of recruiting student nurses – read about it here.
  • At Bournemouth University, service Users and carers are engaged in the whole interview process of adult and mental health students nurses. They independently assess the candidates in both a group discussion and one-to-one interviews alongside academic and professional staff. Service users, along with academic and clinical staff then discuss the candidates and a group score is identified. Service users were also involved in the evaluation of this approach.