Carers are being invited to join a special group set up to train care professionals of the future at Edge Hill University.
Those who have experience of caring for others and those who have been cared for can “make a huge difference” by joining the University’s Service User and Carer Group (SUCG) this Carers Week, 8-14 June.
The group works with academics, health and social care professionals, families and service users to develop, strengthen and inspire Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine (FHSCM) students to provide the highest quality healthcare when they graduate.
Toni Bewley, nurse, senior lecturer and chair of the group, described the members’ input as “vital”.
“The group comes to the FHSCM and members share their lived experiences and expertise with students on our health programmes.
“Members fulfil a really valuable role at Edge Hill, they’re just fabulous.
“We’d love to find more volunteers to take part because their involvement is so beneficial to the training of our future health and social care professionals.”
Members sit on interview panels, assist recruitment and work with students on non-professional BA degrees such as Health and Social Wellbeing, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing, Counselling and Psychotherapy, and professional programmes including Nursing, Paramedic Practice, Midwifery, Social Work and a variety of Medical School health programmes.
Their input also helps ensure course validation by official regulatory bodies such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Anne Greenop, a foster carer for 40 years who also cared for her elderly mother, takes part in educational “role play” scenarios and contributes to modules with her own real-life case studies.
“As we are still fostering, I feel my contribution to student learning is real and up to date,” she said.
“I hope I leave students able to reflect and debate on the good (and bad) examples I give. I try to show students how important good communication is and show them examples of good outcomes.
“Sharing such experiences offers a feeling of value, for myself, students and staff.”
Volunteers are even continuing to support and educate students during the Covid-19 lockdown via virtual platforms.
“They are still dedicated to supporting students, passing on their real-life experiences at a time when it’s not possible for students to witness them first-hand,” Toni added.
“I would like to celebrate and thank these carers for continuing to support our students when, in many cases, they are no longer able to access outside support themselves because of lockdown.”
To find out more about the SUCG and to read more member testimonials visit the Service Users and Cares Council; listen to podcasts by volunteers; and to sign up to the group, email Bewleyt@edgehill.ac.uk