Service users

Service user involvement strategy

Service user involvement in health care is widely supported at a national level both through the NHS plan and the Department of Health's Patient and Public Involvement agenda. The relevance of service user involvement within the education of health professionals is therefore clear and explicit.

Working in partnership with service users is central to our ethos (.pdf) of preparing the next generation of health and social care practitioners. Our service users are involved at many levels throughout the planning and delivery of all our programmes which includes:

  • curriculum design
  • recruitment and selection of students
  • classroom based discussion or activities
  • practice placement support
  • Service User Reference Group - terms of reference (.pdf)

If you want to become part of our team please complete our service user application form (.pdf).

What our students say

Within our School students and academics alike have noted the importance and significance of service user involvement.

  • Anne Marie Wallace, second year BSc Nursing

    I learnt the importance of listening to service users. The service user involvement has been so valuable for my own professional development. It allows me to look at experiences through the service users eyes and in turn enable me to change my practice, in particular with listening and communication skills.

    It has also reinforced my belief that when listening to patients it is so important to follow through on questions or queries, even when the working environment can be so busy.

  • Zoe McKinley, second year BSc Nursing

    I learnt that for service users the seemingly little things can matter the most. For me having service users involvement was very helpful as it gave an insight into what they went through and highlighted areas that are most important to them and that we, as nurses, could/should address.

    Through their stories, I think the most consistent theme was that it was the little things that mattered the most to them at the time of their experience. For example, being offered a cup of tea or having their hair washed seemed much more important than the bigger nursing tasks. I was marked by one service user when they said that for them, a good nurse could mirror the emotions/mood of their patients and I have become conscious of trying to apply that into my practice a much as possible.

  • Dudzile Mkwananzi, second year BSc Nursing

    A great tool that helps us to treat people how we would want to be treated. I think that service user involvement is one of the best educational tools we can ever have as students. It allows us to consider our practical experiences and as students we develop our skills more with the patients' feelings in mind. We learn to treat our patients the same way that we would like to be treated. To me, service users provide excellent learning experiences.

  • Natalia Dooley, second year BSc Nursing

    It helps me improve personal care giving. I really enjoy the service users coming in to the university and sharing their experiences with me. As a student it makes me realise and understanding what service users value from us in practice so that I can improve my personal care giving and practice in the future.

  • Clare Hobbs, Occupational therapy

    Gaining the service users' perspective helps us to develop more effective therapeutic relationships. Throughout the occupational therapy course we have had numerous talks from service users. They have provided a fascinating insight into the experiences and perspectives of services users and their carers.

    During the Heath and Well-being in Inter-professional Practice module, a service user with Spina Bifida came to talk to us about his experiences of living with the condition and the treatment he has received from various health care professionals. His input provided us with an insight into what is important to him as an individual (for example, his independence) and the impact that OT has had on his life. He also discussed social issues such as the challenges and discrimination faced by himself and others with a disability.

    Gaining his perspective of these issues is vital for us as OT students as it encourages us to empathise with service users, thus enabling us to develop more effective therapeutic relationships and practice in a more client-centred manner. The session highlighted to me the knowledge, skills and attributes that service users value in healthcare professionals, and it prompted me to reflect on the kind of OT I would like to be.

Accessing service users

A database of service users who are willing to be involved across a range of educational activities can be accessed by academic and administrative staff to source information about those service users who are best placed to support specific educational activities.

Please note: If you are a member of staff interested in accessing the service user database, it can be found in the HHS staff Moodle area.

Guidance for staff and service users

A set of guidance notes (.docx) for use both by academic staff and service users have been developed by the Service User Reference Group to support involvement activities. These have been designed specifically to outline the necessary preparation which needs to be undertaken prior to any involvement activities.