1. Conferences
  2. Events cancelled, postponed or moved online
  1. Learning at City Conference

Poster 4

Using technology to challenge a negative narrative: the use of blogs to document students' journeys

Janet Hunter - Senior Lecturer | School of Health Sciences

Julie Attenborough - Lecturer | School of Health Sciences

The introduction of the nursing associate programme in England prompted a strong negative reaction from the media, educationalists, nursing press and some areas of practice. Dubbed as ‘nursing on the cheap’, students found themselves defending their position within this new role, whilst undertaking a challenging work-based learning programme of study. In challenging this negative narrative, an educational intervention to support the students was introduced to enable the students to not only document their journey through this programme, but to also maximise their learning and professional development.

Blogs have been demonstrated to be an effective approach in encouraging active learning and reflective thinking (Curran and Marshall 2011, Castro and Andrews 2017). Blogs can encourage increase reading and improve an individual’s writing style, and with engagement, increase curiosity and the use of imagination (Hilliard 2015). A person blog is a student-centred tool that is used as a diary to record what students learn and for this group of students improved confidence and self-efficacy (Rettbery, 2014). As blogs are interactive, they also provide a vehicle for communication with others around common interests. The use of blogs has provided a safe environment for the students to reflect on their experiences and encouraged them to identify their achievements and successes. They have positively enthused the students to explore their experiences of the wider healthcare context, supported by academic staff who guided and motivated them to tell their story. By developing professionalism, confidence and insight the blogs have contributed to the student’s development within their role and healthcare education. Ethical approval is being sought for a more in-depth evaluation demonstrating the impact of the intervention.

The poster illustrates the negative narrative in the press juxtapositioned with extracts of the students’ experiences from the blogs. The contrast between these two approaches demonstrates the context in which the students were learning and their successes.


Castro, A & Andrews G (2018) Nursing lives in the blogosphere: A thematic analysis of anonymous online nursing narratives. Journal of Advance Nursing. 74, 329-338

Curran, K. and Marshall, D., 2011. Blogs in education. Advanced Engineering Informatics. Retrieved from

Hilliard, E. D. Blogs: Promoting Education through Entertainment. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115.9 (2015): A66.

Rettberg, J, W (2014) Blogging, 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Polity Press