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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 1F - Paper 1

Implementing seismic change: education to transform the shape of caring in the NHS

Ms Janet Hunter - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London
Ms Julie Attenborough - School of Health Sciences, City, University of London

This paper describes a unique approach to engaging non-traditional students in higher education, to maximise their potential to achieve in professional practice.
This paper describes the process of working on a national level with a consortium of London healthcare providers and one other London HEI.
This paper addresses the implementation of technology to enhance the learning experience and to document the student’s learning journey.

This paper will address the experience of developing education with government policy drivers, and in the context of the changing political and funding climate in healthcare education. The Shape of Caring Review, (Raising the Bar) (HEE, 2015) was commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) via Health Education England (HEE) with the aim of ensuring that throughout their careers nurses and care assistants receive consistent high quality education and training, which supports high quality care delivery over the next 15 years.

Significantly, the Shape of Caring Review recommended that HEE explore the introduction of a new support role, which became known as the ‘Nursing Associate’ (Rosser, 2016). After a competitive process, City was chosen as one of the pilot sites and was tasked with developing a foundation degree programme in a three-month period. At the end of the programme, the trainee nursing associate will be equipped with the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours relevant to employment as a nursing associate and will work to a national recognised code of conduct.

Key issues to be addressed:

  • The challenge of developing work-based learning in a higher education context (Mumford & Roadhouse, 2010 & Lester & Costley, 2010)
  • Our strategy for working with mature students who have limited experience of higher education, with competing responsibilities.
  • The experience of working in a consortium to develop an educational programme
  • The experience of developing education in a highly politicised context.
  • The experience of working under timeframes dictated by the Department of Health
  • Our experience of harnessing and capturing the student journey through the use of City’s educational technologies.

At the end of this session participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the challenges of developing a programme in a short time period with political drivers.
  • Assess the merits of a collaborative approach including health care providers and other HEIs to develop and deliver high quality education.
  • Determine the advantages of different educational approaches to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
  • The role of this specific programme in widening participation.


Lester, S.  & Costley, C., 2010  Work‐based learning at higher education level: value, practice and critique, Studies in Higher Education, 35(5), p561-575, DOI:10.1080/03075070903216635

Mumford, J. & Roodhouse, S., 2010. Understanding work-based learning. Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Rosser, E., 2016. Nursing associate: our chance to influence. British Journal of Nursing25(6), p.336.

Willis, P., 2015. Raising the bar. Shape of caring: A review of the future education and training of registered nurses and care assistants. Health Education England, London.