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Co-producing nurse education with academics, students, service users and carers: lessons from the pandemic

08 September 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 16


This article presents a holistic view of re-designing learner-centred nursing curricula in a post-coronavirus pandemic digital educational system while maintaining authentic service user and carer involvement. Higher education is facing turbulent times through ever-increasing recruitment targets and financial demands. This is coupled with increased requirements from health professional bodies to involve students and service users and carers in co-creating curricula. Reflecting on the authors' collective experiences pre-COVID-19, during COVID-19 and looking to the future, they present a service user-and-student-led proposal for the future of digitally enabled nursing education that involves people with lived experience in an authentic way.

The aim of this article, a collaborative reflection on practice, is to discuss the digital shift that has taken place at the school of nursing in a university in the north west of England. It proposes key recommendations for the authentic co-production of future nursing educational practice across the sector. This article does not seek to provide all the answers. Rather, the authors hope this reflection on practice will help to generate ideas and raise key questions for debate when applying contemporary educational theories such as heutagogy (self-determined learning) to the practice of co-designing contemporary authentic nursing curricula.

Higher education is moving away from outdated methods of didactic education towards learner-centred active participation in distance, blended and face-to-face learning (Alexander et al, 2019). This digital shift was boosted by the need to move to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic (Leigh et al, 2020; Nerantzi, 2020). Heutagogical design has been shown to help in facilitating an active and authentic blended learning experience for nurse education that encourages human agency and develops self-determined learners (Gillaspy and Vasilica, 2021). This study and others (Blaschke and Hase, 2016; Agonács and Matos, 2019), highlighted the importance of encouraging learners to investigate topics that they are passionate about and stretch their cognitive boundaries to different extents, according to their readiness for self-determinism.

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