Increasing service user influences on the selection of nursing students

Dobson, Fiona; Walker, Elaine and Pearson, Beryl (2013). Increasing service user influences on the selection of nursing students. In: Putting people at the heart of nursing care: leading the way, 21 Jun 2013, Bournemouth University.


The Open University (OU) delivers a pre-registration nurse education programme (PRNP) across the United Kingdom and the States of Jersey and selection of students currently takes place within the ten regions and nations in which the programme is commissioned. Students who study the PRNP with the OU are typically health care support workers, approved and supported by their employers. In 2010 the Nursing and Midwifery Council indicated that it is best practice for service users to be included in the selection process. However it has been acknowledged that the involvement of service users in the selection of student nurses is variable and as yet seems to be a relatively unexplored aspect of selection, with opportunity for new practices and innovative approaches (NHS Education Scotland 2010). The OU PRNP developed an enhanced selection process, in partnership with service users, that provided a method of their meaningful involvement which at the same time assured fairness in selection. This was piloted for the recruitment of students to the 2012 intake. Applicants were required to write a short paper on a topic identified by service users. This was reviewed, commented on and graded by service users within each locality. Service users also derived an interview question from each applicant’s paper. Informal feedback on the process indicates service users valued their increased influence on the selection of students and their participation in the process. Academic colleagues and practice partners regarded this enhancement as highly effective: this feedback mirrors the findings of Rhodes and Nyawata (2011). The identified benefits, limitations and challenges of the process are considered and a formal evaluation of the selection process for the 2013 intake will be discussed.

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