A discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of service user involvement in student assessment (2014)

James Harcus, Sarah Naylor & Marcus Elkington

This presentation will discuss an evaluation of service user involvement in assessing first year diagnostic radiography students prior to attending placement. Service users took the role of patients during a simulation exercise undertaken in a general X-ray room.

In recent years the importance of involving service users in all aspects of health care has been promoted (Repper and Breeze 2007); this includes being involved in the education of health care workers (Lathlean et al 2006). The evaluation of service user involvement in the education of health care workers in limited (Repper and Breeze 2007), as is any literature about service user involvement outside nursing, mental health and social work (Towle et al 2010).

Feedback obtained via email and face to face from academic staff, service users and students using open questions will be used to prompt discussion about the benefits to students of service user involvement which are; that it gave the exercise a more realistic feel and is an excellent exercise in terms of developing patient care, communication and positioning skills.

There will also be a discussion about the benefits to service users, who in this instance enjoyed the experience. Issues for consideration include travel to the venue and the physical demands on the service user. Concerns highlighted by previous authors of preparation and remuneration had been addressed prior to the exercise (Repper and Breeze 2007).

There is increasing diversity in the ways in which service users are involved in education (Towle et al 2010). Service user involvement as patients in a simulation exercise for assessing students has proved successful.