Experiences of service users involved in recruitment for nursing courses: A phenomenological research study

Nurse Educ Today. 2017 Nov:58:59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2017.08.001. Epub 2017 Aug 15.


The aim of this study was to gain insight into service users' experiences of participating in recruitment for Adult, Mental Health and Child nursing studies at the authors' university; to establish potential motivations behind such participation; and to make suggestions for improved future practice. The involvement of service users in nurse education and recruitment has for some years been required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but there is a dearth of publications on the meaning of that involvement to participating service users. It is hoped that this study will contribute to this body of knowledge. A phenomenological approach was selected, field-specific focus groups of service users being facilitated using a semi-structured interview format; these were audio recorded and transcribed. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Participation was subject to the service users having been involved in recruitment to nursing studies at the authors' university and the focus groups took place either at the university or at the child participants' school. Themes identified demonstrated largely positive experiences and a sense of meaningful involvement for all concerned. Findings indicated a close link between the values of the participants and those of the wider NHS, benefits to a sense of wellbeing and achievement, as well as the need for greater ownership of the recruitment process by service users. Potential lessons for academics wishing to promote greater service user involvement in student recruitment are articulated.

Keywords: Adult nursing; Children's nursing; Health education; Mental health nursing; Nursing recruitment; Qualitative research; Service users.

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation / methods
  • Community Participation / psychology*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Feedback
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology