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Can Nursing Students Gain Person-Centred Skills while Supporting Citizen Contacts to use the Internet for Health?

Authors:

Toni M. Page ,

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, GB
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Helen M. Lloyd,

NIHR CLAHRC, South West Peninsula PenCLAHRC, Peninsula Schools of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, GB
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Graham R. Williamson,

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, GB
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Ray B. Jones

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, GB
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Abstract

Introduction: Service users may benefit from digital health services by having access to reliable health information and ways to communicate health issues, thus fostering greater engagement in self-care. The University of Plymouth’s nursing students study ‘Digital Professionalism’ as part of an introduction to e-health in their curriculum. The University seeks to benefit local communities through direct community action. This study aims to explore the feasibility of implementing a model for students to enhance citizens’ knowledge and use of the Internet for health, and to provide an opportunity for students to understand citizens in their social context.

Theory/Method: A collaborative action research approach has been used to develop and trial a citizen contact model. This study has two iterative cycles using mixed methods; a third will be undertaken. The first cycle explores the proposed activity with academics, health professionals, the public, and students. The second and third cycle’s trial the model, exploring its feasibility with stakeholders.

Results: First cycle: Six workshops were undertaken. There was general consensus introducing a citizen contact model into the nursing curriculum was a good idea. An online survey further explored the thoughts of workshop participants and stakeholders. All 57 survey respondents agreed that the proposed activity would give students a better understanding of the thoughts and experiences of citizen contacts, and the majority 52/57 agreed citizen contacts would learn about health services. However, a number of concerns were raised including recruitment of citizen contacts, safeguarding of participants, and workloads. In October 2017, 473 first year students were invited to demonstrate one of five health websites to a friend, relative or neighbour as part of an assessment. The benefits were explored without confronting the problems of recruitment, safeguarding, and workloads.

Second cycle: The recruitment of  citizen contacts unknown to students and the organisation of visits has been addressed with volunteer second year adult nursing students. Three students and five citizen contacts participated in the implementation phase. Citizen contacts were recruited via a service user organisation. Reflective logs from students and questionnaires from citizen contacts are currently being collected. All participants are invited to explore their experiences in a follow-up.

The model offers students the chance to visit a carer or someone living with a long-term health condition in pairs, to support them in using the Internet for health in a non-clinical setting.

Discussion: Although a third cycle of collaborative action research will be undertaken offering child nursing students a similar opportunity, the model has not yet achieved unanimous support and routine implementation. However, stakeholders seem to accept the model. If we can implement the model for routine use, it could improve student and citizen learning. Collaborative action research, through a number of cycles, appears an appropriate methodology.

Lessons Learned:  Working with stakeholders is key to developing a feasible approach.

Limitations: The model is being developed within one Higher Education Institute HEI, we cannot be sure the findings will transfer across to other HEIs.

Suggestions for Future Research: Future research would trial this model at other HEIs. 

How to Cite: Page TM, Lloyd HM, Williamson GR, Jones RB. Can Nursing Students Gain Person-Centred Skills while Supporting Citizen Contacts to use the Internet for Health?. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2018;18(s2):292. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.s2292
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Published on 23 Oct 2018.

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