Service user involvement in practitioner education: Movement politics and transformative change

Nurse Educ Today. 2014 Aug;34(8):1175-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2014.03.016. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


This paper will attempt to celebrate both key developments and best practice involving the users of health and social care services in programmes of practitioner education in a UK context, and offer a critical appraisal of the extent to which such initiatives meet some of the more transformative objectives sought by service user activists for change. The approach is largely that of a discussion paper but we will illustrate some of the themes relating to movement activism with selected data. These data relate to earlier research and two specially convened focus groups within the Comensus initiative at the University of Central Lancashire; itself constituted as a piece of participatory action research. We conclude that universities represent paradoxical sites for the facilitation of debate and learning relevant to key issues of social justice and change. As such, they are places that can impede or support movement aims. Particular strategic responses might be more likely to engender progressive outcomes. These ought to include the presence of critically engaged academic staff operating within a scholarly culture that fosters forms of deliberative democratic decision making.

Keywords: Health and social care education; Politics; Service user involvement; Social movements.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Education, Nursing
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Politics*
  • Social Change*
  • Social Work / education*
  • United Kingdom
  • Universities