Session 4A City Vista: A blended learning interactive video programme for nursing students preparing for mental health placements in NHS hospitals

James Rutherford, Senior Educational Technologist  – City, University of London, Digital Education (LEaD)

Lorna Saunder, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health – City, University of London, School of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing


Many students going on placement to mental health care units for the first time are often apprehensive about the environment and service users (patients) that they may meet.  City Vista is a video based resource that explores the physical environment, staff roles and provides a voice to service users to talk about their experience of admission

The workshop will be a case study demonstrating the use of blended learning which can be described as “ a learning method of mixed delivery modes with the support of innovative technologies (O’Reilly 2020; ) This project utilised multimedia and video. The material was designed to be used in a class prior to nursing students going out on placement to a local mental health unit.  Chadwick and Porter (2014) identified that student nurses often report pre-existing stigmatised ideas and fear of service user’s (patient) unpredictability as key factors in feeling apprehensive before attending mental health placements. The aim of the CityVista project was to enable students to experience what a real mental health unit looks like, what staff and roles they are likely to encounter and most importantly hear the service user’s voices in describing their own experiences of admission.

The session will offer the delegates the opportunity to explore the CityVista resource and reflect upon the likely uses or benefits for students.

City Vista combines service user interviews that are accessed interactively via Moodle.  The students view a virtual map of a hospital facility; they can click to open doors to take them to other areas of a mental health ward or to open doors to gain information. This was delivered in the form of photographs and short interviews from NHS staff.

The key learning outcome for CityVista is to prepare students for going on placement. Foster et al (2019) identify preparedness as being vital in reducing anxiety and stigma towards caring for people with mental health issues. The video content features an implicit introduction by the nursing staff from a mental health unit. It also offers a narrative from service users describing their own journeys, of admission into hospital and detailed insights into their own experiences on the ward.

Slides from the session

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Recording of the session:


Chadwick, L. , Porter, J. (2014). An evaluation of the effect of a mental health clinical placement on the mental health attitudes of student nurses. Nursing and Health2 (3), 57– 64.

Foster, K., Withers, E., Blanco, T. et al. (2019). Undergraduate nursing students’ stigma and receovery attitutedes during mental health clinical placement: A pre/post‐test survey study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing28, 1068– 1080.

O’Reilly, R., Ramjan, L.M., Fatayer, M., Stunden, A. & Gregory, L.R. 2020, “First year undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of blended learning approaches for nursing numeracy”, Nurse education in practice, vol. 45, pp. 102800-102800.

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