ESRC: Relevance of Social Science in Nursing Education Seminar Series.

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KINGSCOLLEGE_LondonKings College University, London

In March of 2015, one of our students,  Louise Lawler, was given the opportunity to become part of a research programme that was being carried out on behalf of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Dr Ian Atherton of Napier University, Edinburgh and two of his colleagues from the University of Nottingham were researching the relevance of social sciences in nurse education and required student input as part of the research.

After reading the papers from Seminar 1 and 4 of the series of 6 seminars, Louise applied to be in the core student group and became one of 7 students that travelled to both Nottingham and London for Seminars 5 and 6.

In Nottingham, the student group discussed their personal experiences of the social sciences, how accessible they are to students and the challenges that can be faced in clinical practice, while Dr Atherton’s colleagues, Dr Sara Donetto and Dr Stephen Timmons steered the discussions. It was decided that the group would be split in two and each small group would produce a piece of work to be presented at  a concluding seminar to be held in London. In the months that followed, online meetings took place and the direction of the student group changed and it was decided that in London, the student group would hold a question and answer session, instead of presenting a piece of work.

The final seminar was held in Kings College University in March 2016. The seminar provided an excellent opportunity for the students to meet other health professionals. There were officials from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Royal College of Nursing,  NHS England, NHS Scotland, NHS Education Scotland and members of faculty from other Universities across the UK. As Louise states, it was nerve wracking, expressing her opinions to some of the most senior people in UK nursing but the student input was very well received by all.

Dr Atherton is currently collating his findings and will produce a paper when this is complete. The core student group have been invited to contribute to this paper, which is currently ‘in writing’. Louise felt privileged to have been involved in this and she appreciates fully the implications the outcome of this research could have on the education of future UK nurses. If you would like to know more about Louise’s involvement you can contact her at Louise’s e-mail

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