Pre-registration nursing education communications plan


02 / 06 / 2011

The plan coordinates all the information received from the Department of Health (DH), strategic health authorities (SHAs), NHS Employers, local HEI curriculum development groups and practice groups. The plan includes a timescale of activities, key messages and reporting templates that can be tailored to individual organisations and cascaded electronically.

The organisation

There are four NHS organisations in Derbyshire:

• Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
• Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
• Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
• Derbyshire Community Health Services.

The four organisations combined provide healthcare across Derbyshire and its borders and support the training of pre-registration nurse students from the University of Nottingham and University of Derby.

Each NHS organisation has its own clinical placement learning facilitator team to coordinate and develop practice learning. These teams work together and form the Derbyshire Clinical Placement Learning Group (DCPLG) who, supported by the Derbyshire clinical placement adviser from the Derbyshire workforce development team, work in partnership with the local health community.

What we did and why

Towards the end of 2010, following several national, regional and local events plus university curriculum development meetings, there were concerns around information sharing and it was agreed that information needed cascading properly. Derbyshire felt it was vital that organisations and staff receive clear, consistent messages and that they become involved and prepared for future developments. East Midlands SHA advised each county to develop an individual communication plan.

The Derbyshire workforce development team’s first step was to review all available resources and information, including:

• East Midlands' move to all degree nurse education implementation group activities
• Nursing and Midwifery Council roadshow information
• NHS Employers updates.

Involvement in all project groups and university curriculum development groups were reviewed and appropriate representation organised.

The information was collated and displayed on the team’s project board and the Derbyshire clinical placement adviser developed the plan by creating actions.

How we did it

It was decided the DCPLG would be at the centre of communication activity as members hold key positions within their organisations.

The group held a focus day to share ideas and identify methods of communication. The clinical placement adviser decided a communication plan needed to:

• be practical, easy to implement and sustain
• include timescales and templates that can be sent electronically and tailored to individual organisations
• utilise all available existing resources and publication materials
• include a time frame detailing specific event dates, meetings, and  activities
• identify all staff who need to be involved
• identify channels to communicate with all groups
• include specific information, questions and feedback
• specify exact events, meeting agendas, email, websites, blogs etc
• identify challenges and risks to heighten awareness
• include a system to review effectiveness of communication within individual organisations and make amendments to plan as required.

Results and next steps 

A communication plan and appendix of templates have now been produced which can be tailored to individual organisations' needs and used electronically.


The format of the communications plan was as follows:


Short explanation of the plan.

Aims and objectives

Detail desired outcomes.

Key questions

Questions organisations should have or need to consider to ascertain their state of readiness for the changes to pre-registration nursing education e.g. graduate nurse role, impact on service and provision of practice learning experience, impact on future workforce.

Challenges, issues and risks

Consideration around how to engage all staff and ensure feedback gathered, raise awareness organisation wide and reassure existing staff.


Identify interested groups and those already involved.

Key messages

Detail specific messages for specific groups of staff/organisations.

Role and responsibilities

Identify roles and responsibilities for individual representatives/staff group/meeting group/organisation.


Identify communication channels/pathway and specific meetings to ensure two way communication.

Specific activity

Identify specific activity and timings for each specific staff group e.g. regular agenda item at specific group meeting


Tips for other trusts 

• Keep the plan concise and easy to implement.
• Make sure it’s practical. Provide timescale structure and templates for organisations to individualise and use electronically.
• Ask organisations to identify the key people to send information to.
• Make use of all the information already provided by DH, SHA, NHS Employers and HEIs.
• Promote and launch the plan.
• Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the communications activity and take necessary action.

Contact details

Sue Brown
Derbyshire Clinical Placement Advisor
Derbyshire Workforce Development Team


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