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Celebrating excellence in user and carer involvement at City

Event covers the widespread involvement of service users and carers in the School of Health Sciences

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

The involvement of users and carers in the School of Health Sciences at City, University of London was celebrated at a special event at the start of July.

With eight different projects presenting at the event, attendees heard about a huge range of ways in which such involvement is enriching the School. Featuring a wide variety of topics, presentations not only celebrated the extensive involvement of service users and carers in the School of Health Sciences at City, but also highlighted the wide range of areas in which they have provided valuable input, including: teaching, feedback, help in the selection and interview of prospective students and also the development of the curriculum.

Opening the event, Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, spoke about how “user and carer involvement is key to our programmes and also for students and the world they go into”.

“I am really thrilled that there is so much activity, and that moving forward we can make it even more central,” she said.

Starting the day, Sophie Hughan, a Radiography undergraduate student and judge at the event, talked about her own experiences as a student and the benefits of service user involvement. In particular, she touched on how City integrates service users into the interview process and education.

“It helps give us an idea and perspective, and we can ask any question. In radiography, we have heard people share their stories of cancer and other illnesses,” she said.

Following the presentations, the judges –SHS academic Professor Alan Simpson and Sarah Reed, a member of the Service User and Carers Advisory Board– announced that the winning project was ‘Conversation as an Opportunity for Learning:  how engaging with service users enhances teaching practice’ by Richard Thorne and Dr Soph Willis (Division of Midwifery and Radiography). In this initiative, students heard from service users about their experiences and used them to help enrich teaching.

In second place was ‘Teaching with Service Users with Learning Disabilities’ by Dr Celia Harding, Division of Language and Communication Science, Rosa Benato (the Division of Health Services Research and Management) and Saboohi Bukhari (The Advocacy Project). As part of the project, students from Language and Communication Science met service users with learning disabilities in their 1st and 4th years. The service users not only discussed what was important in their lives but also augmented teaching.

In third place was ‘Involving Visually Impaired Service Users in a Review of the Visual Impairment Curriculum for Optometry Students’ by Dr Ahalya Subramanian (Division of Optometry and Visual Sciences). In this initiative, staff involved service users when teaching undergraduate students about visual impairment. Featuring open-ended discussions, service users helped students improve their empathy, with the Division very much seeing service users as partners in education.

Other highly commended projects included:

  • Users and Carers in Student Interviews - Clare Nicholson (Division of Language and Communication Science) and David Laylock, Service User
  • Working with Service Users and Carers in the Recruitment and Selection of Health Visiting and School Nursing Students - Val Thurtle (Division of Health Services Research and Management)
  • Patients Sharing Information about their Long Term Conditions with Nursing Students - Petra Chipperfield (Division of Nursing)
  • Service User Involvement in Recruitment to the Midwifery Programme - Suzanne Lee (Division of Midwifery and Radiography)
  • SUCAB and Interviewing Guidance - Adam Al-Kashi, Public Engagement Facilitator

Rosa Benato, a Senior Lecturer from the School of Health Sciences, who organised the day, said:

“It was wonderful to hear so many innovative and interesting examples of how staff and students in the School are integrating and incorporating service users and carers into teaching, interviews, feedback and also development of the curriculum at City. We have a huge amount to learn from such people, and by celebrating and continuing to develop their involvement we can provide the best teaching to our students as we help them become the healthcare leaders of tomorrow.”

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.