Rhodes, Christine, Hardy, Joan, Padgett, Kath, Symons, Jools, Tate, Joannie and Thornton, Susan (2014) The Health and Well-being of Service User and Carer Educators: a Narrative Enquiry into the Impact of Involvement in Healthcare Education. International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care, 2 (1). pp. 51-68. ISSN 2051-6223

Service user and carer involvement is increasing in health and social care education
as a result of UK policy directives and Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body
requirements. The study aimed to elicit the accounts of service user and carer educators'
experiences in practice-based healthcare education in the UK. The overall aim was to
illustrate the impact this has had on their health and well-being. A narrative inquiry
approach was adopted in order to give a clearer and stronger voice to service users and
carers by making their experience the primary focus of enquiry.
Narratives were collected from five service users and carers who had extensive experience
of involvement in healthcare education. The individual narrative material obtained was
distilled into key points following a naturalistic perspective, ensuring that the findings and
final story were a re-presentation of the narrator's experience.
Participating in the research enabled the service users and carers to articulate specifically
how involvement had positively affected their health and well-being. An additional outcome
included the personal artefacts that can be utilised in teaching and learning in order to
bring the service user and carer voice to life.
This study contributes to the emerging knowledge and understanding that service user and
carer involvement in health education can be a truly collaborative, enriching experience,
producing profound personal change, with improvements in health and well-being.
Effective involvement is dependent upon appropriate support networks whereby service
users and carers develop connections with staff and other service users and carers that
result in a sense of belonging.

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