Wider Patient Engagement (WPE)

Wider Patient Engagement (WPE) activity enables student nurses to develop their experiences of working with people in the community to learn more about what matters to individuals and families in terms of:

  • their experiences of health and wellbeing 
  • issues relating to accessing health services/health provision
  • listening and responding to the patient voice and concerns about their experiences of health care delivery
  • understanding how changes are made to improve health care delivery by health care providers.

Student nurses can undertake WPE activity in a number of ways during the nursing programme. It is advised that they first discuss their WPE ideas with their personal tutor before undertaking WPE. Although not mandatory, it is recommended that students undertake a form of WPE during the programme.

Student nurses can change the type of WPE during the programme to fully engage and make the relevant connections with clinical placement types. The student experience of WPE activity must be ‘non-clinical’ but will directly link to the OAR Domains for clinical practice.

We advise student nurses to discuss WPE opportunities with their nurse mentor during every placement to ensure that they are able to link their WPE activity to their OAR Domains.

WPE can involve student nurses undertaking activities with patient groups/patient support groups/patient councils/patient representation organisations either face to face or virtually. 

We encourage all of our nursing students to undertake virtual WPE with the Care Opinion Organisation. Some NHS Trusts in the South West already have contracts in place to engage and respond to patient and family feedback via the Care Opinion website. 

Student nurses can provide patients and families with information on how to provide feedback about their experiences of health care. 

WPE activity examples

Please consider the following (WPE) activity examples undertaken by some of our student nurses. These will provide you with some ideas on how some of our student nurses have considered and chosen their WPE activity choice. The examples include details on how student nurses have evidenced their WPE activity for their OAR Domains and ePortfolio.

Student A used her unique log in details with Patient Opinion (PO) to find out more about patient stories during year one. This was recommended during the Patient Opinion Webinar in her first module to learn more about patient experiences and concerns.  

During each of her placements in year one, she logged in and accessed PO resources related to specific care specialities locally, regionally and nationally. 

This provided student A with a greater understanding of the type of experiences patients and their families have of care settings related to the clinical specialities. The student developed some knowledge of how varied patient experiences are and diverse levels of responses that were provided to these individuals. 

Student A began to understand some of changes, which were made by health care organisations as a result of responding to patient feedback (Virtual WPE). Student A was able to undertake her virtual WPE at different times throughout the academic year and found this very useful for research into different patient and carer experiences in different care settings. 

She produced some reflective accounts for her ePortfolio throughout the year as evidence of ‘responding to the patient voice’, which she linked to recommendations from the Francis Report (2103). WPE activity was discussed with her personal tutor after each placement and at the end of the academic year.

Student B undertook some background reading about patient representation groups (PPGs) in his local area during year one. At the start of year two, he decided to contact his own GP surgery to request joining his local PPG. This involved attending PPG meetings (two hour duration) every three months (18.00–20.00). 

It required Student B to negotiate with his personal tutor and nurse mentors during the clinical placement periods to attend the four meetings throughout the year. He attended two meetings on theory days which did not require negotiation. 

Two meetings occurred during the placement periods in which he negotiated leaving his shift at 17.00 on the long days. His nurse mentors were supportive and understood how Student B was planning to link these experiences to his OAR Domains and provided evidence of his WPE for his ePortfolio. Student B saved the PPG Agenda and Minutes to his ePortfolio (consent from the Practice). 

This included evidence of his contribution and discussion at the PPG meetings. 

Student B also contributed to a patient survey activity with other PPG members. 

This resulted in changes being made to improve the patient experience of accessing GP Practice appointments. Student B also attended a local meeting to find out how health and social care organisations were communicating with the local population regarding the NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). 

He contributed to some of the discussions with representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group to find out more about potential proposals to save millions of pounds by 2020–21. 

Student B wrote up the main issues raised by public and patients at the meeting and the responses made. He was able to reflect on this experience of gaining greater insight in to how patients and the public voice is communicated and how health and social care organisations respond to their concerns.

• Student C wanted to find out more about patient experiences and support after experiencing bowel cancer surgery in the county when she was on a surgical placement at the beginning of year two. 

She undertook web searching to find out more about patient support groups in the county. Student C had also contacted the colorectal specialist nurse in her local NHS Trust and arranged to meet to discuss finding out more about the patient and carer experience following discharge from hospital. 

She had read a few ‘patient stories’ online from patients and their family members who had felt isolated and unsupported after hospital discharge. 

The specialist nurse recommended to Student C that she might find it useful to request attending the local Bowel Cancer Support Group as a student nurse volunteer. The specialist nurses are part of this support group. 

This group has meetings every two months but also has virtual meetings. 

Becoming active with this group enabled Student C to develop a very good understanding of how patients and their families cope with the disabling effects of having cancer, the treatment regimes, challenges of role changes, and how these individuals cope with living with cancer after surgery. 

The group also takes part in health promotion activities to raise awareness of bowel cancer. Student C was also able to evidence her contribution to developing awareness posters for local GP Practice waiting rooms. 

She linked the activities to the Domains in her OAR document and evidenced these within her ePortfolio.

Video about undertaking citizen contact activity for Wider Patient Engagement

Wider Patient Engagement

Professor of Health Informatics, Ray Jones discusses Wider Patient Engagement in this video