Service User and Carer Forum

Service user and carer forum at the University of Salford #UoSuserscarers

Seeing the person and not the illness – putting the voice and experience of service users and carers at the heart of nurse education

Finding our way together: the story of a carer and service user forum

In 2005 the service user and carer forum in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Salford University was formed (now School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Science); comprising of service users, carers, academics, students and representatives from external organisations. At the time this was an innovative and unique model of collaboration for ‘engaging’ in nurse education. The forum has developed a clear focus for its work, members have recognised and resolved challenges, conflict and trust, mutual respect and commitment have created a sense of a family with a shared purpose. At the heart of the forum is a strong commitment both within the School to ensure that the voice of people, as carers and service users, is heard so they can effectively contribute to finding ways in which their lives and their wellbeing can be improved. Working collaboratively within the school over the past 9 years has been the bedrock of the forums success to date and together the forum has established a range of innovative approaches to service user and carer involvement in nurse education.

To date over the past 9 years, 33 student conferences for all year1 students (in semester 1) have been delivered reaching over 2,000 students. much learning has occurred and good practice developed. During these student conferences in addition to hearing the service user and carers stories of their experiences of illness and care, our students present their impressions of the stories and their meanings to them. We ask during the conference for our fresher students to consider the notions, and tensions, of being and doing nursing. Over the years the forum have been consistently impressed and inspired by the student feedback in whatever form – fip charts with bullet points, collages, acronyms, drawings, role-play, poems and raps – it’s all been priceless and heart warming to hear. Indeed we are proud of our fresher students and hope that they take forward their impressions and pledges to be the best that they can be for service users and carers. As one colleague in hearing the student impressions said recently students were positive and very empathic towards the service users and carers, demonstrating respect and interacting very professionally at the service user conference day, it was a pleasure to observe the positive attitudes and behaviour

Below are some examples of some recent feedback through poetry and a rap:


If I was a patient I’d like to be,

Treated as a person, treated as me,

If I was a patient I would like to be heard, not to be viewed as silly or even absurd,

If I was a patient my illness should say,

Just what is the matter not me every day,

If I was a patient I would like my nurse to see, that I am a person, looking at me, seeing me.

Student: Users and Carers Conference October 2012


The Silent Carer

Hello I’m Sarah and I’m just seven

I don’t want my mum to go to heaven

At home I always try my best

But at school it seems I always fail my tests

My teacher sees me as ‘just a bad kid’

If only she knew what I really did!


My friends play out and have a good time

But I can never invite them to mine

I cook, clean and wash my mum

Then go to bed when I’m done

I don’t whinge or moan I just pray

That they don’t take my mum away


As a nurse we can make a difference

To reduce her commitments

To make her life so much fairer

We need to raise the awareness of the ‘Silent Carer’!

Group 2 : Users and Carers Conference March 2013


Lyrics from our rap

This is a story all about how this patients life got turned upside down

I’d like to take a minute just to sit right here

I’d like to tell you a story of how i gave good care

In the North West of England born and bred

In Salford is where i spent my nursing days

Communication, care, compassion & courage, competence and commitment

These are our C’s

A couple of nurses were up to no good

Started making trouble on the hospital ward

a few mistakes were made and the patients got scared and said…

‘This isn’t what i expected when i came into care’

Student group: Users and Carers Conference 2013

We also have the user and carer garden launched in 2013 by VC Martin Hall. This is in the quadrangle of Mary Seacole building


Julie Wray is your contact for ideas/thoughts and comments please do email her. In particular we are collecting ideas from students and even volunteers to raise awareness on campus during Carers week June 9th – 16th 2014.

Sow and Grow gets a great write up in the university magazine!

Sow and Grow gets a great write up in the university magazine!


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