NICE Student Champion Scheme
Posted on 4th April 2014 by Nathan Collicott
NICE Evidence Services
NICE Evidence Services are a collection of services offering access to evidence and best practice, with the aim of helping healthcare professionals make better and quicker evidence-based decisions. NICE Evidence Search is one component of this service, bringing together an array of information on a vast assortment of topics. These topics are divided into clinical, public health and medicines pages. Clinical topic pages provide a general introduction to the topic, links to available guidance, information specifically aimed at the public, areas of ongoing research, defining specific evidence uncertainties that require further research and relevant prescribing information. Essentially, this provides a one-stop shop for tackling any clinical topic. The sheer volume of information could potentially be overwhelming, and this is where the NICE Evidence Search Student Champion Scheme comes into play.
This scheme aims to improve the routine use of evidence by future doctors, nursing and other healthcare professionals, by encouraging students to use the service and teaching them the skills to do so efficiently.
Since beginning in May 2011, the scheme has more than 400 student champions across 30 UK universities. Student champions are asked to deliver teaching sessions to peer groups on how to use NICE evidence search effectively. To enable this, student champions are provided with a full day workshop, focusing on learning how to use NICE evidence search and developing facilitation skills for delivery of the peer group sessions. Students are also provided with a tool kit, including a teaching plan, on which they can base their workshops. Following delivery, student champions write a short report evaluating their sessions. On completion, student champions are invited to one day conference to further develop their understanding of how NICE works and to network with the other student champions and a range of staff from NICE, including the NICE chair and other senior staff.
Benefits of the scheme
Clearly, there are many benefits to participating in the scheme. Here, one of the student champions from Leeds University talks about her experiences. Firstly, student champions will develop their expertise in using NICE evidence search services, and therefore have access to trusted, up to date information at their fingertips. This is advantageous because it is often difficult to determine how much faith to put in information garnered from web sources, while text books may be almost out of date by the time they are published. Additionally, participation provides the potential for students to refine their teaching and presenting skills, which will serve students throughout a career in healthcare. Furthermore, participation provides documentary evidence of continuing professional development and would enhance the student’s CV. Finally, the scheme provides a unique opportunity for early engagement with NICE. As students, our involvement with NICE can be somewhat limited to memorising guidelines for exams, whereas student champions would be well placed to explore involvement in further developments at NICE Evidence Search and NICE in their future careers.
As well as receiving a certificate of participation from NICE, students attending the workshops will improve their practical searching skills. This is likely to be beneficial for future practice, as well as providing access to material that commonly forms the basis of exam questions, something I am becoming all too aware of as we move closer to the end of the academic year!
Becoming a student champion
If you are keen to find out more about setting up a student champion scheme at your university, guidance of how to do so can be found at the bottom of this page.