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Campaigning from a student view

 Kate Youngs 21 Nov 2017

I am student information officer and a student nurse at the University of Leeds. When I heard that the RCN was asking members to engage in potential action over scrapping the pay cap I was very keen to get involved. 

Kate Youngs speaking at demo

Though I’m a student nurse at the moment and not directly affected by the pay cap, I knew I didn’t want to enter a profession where I felt the government was not acknowledging the good work that nurses and public sector workers do to keep the country afloat. I have also seen first-hand the effect that the pay cap has had on exceptional nurses that I have had the pleasure to work alongside on placement.

They give fantastic patient-centred care yet are struggling with their bills, to look after their families. Many spoke to me about wanting to leave the profession even though they loved their jobs as they wouldn’t be getting paid much less in retail for example. 

Something needed to be done about this so when I heard about the RCN Scrap the Cap campaign I signed up, as many others did, as a Pay Champion. Being a student nurse with the pressures of placement, university work and running a house whilst being involved in this campaign is a juggling act but I knew and know that whatever I can do to impact a campaign will be well worth it for my future career, patient care, fellow nurses, healthcare workers and the country as a whole. 

There were some rallies and events that I couldn’t attend due to exams and placement but because of the work that I had done around the campaign I found others that I’d spoken to, fellow healthcare students and the general concerned public, were more than happy to attend for me in my absence. 
Throughout the campaign I was lucky enough to attend and speak at rallies, attend meetings, meet many people with similar mindsets and lead meetings. I also got many postcards filled in and sent off to different MPs, spoke to local press, wrote newspaper articles and attended a mass rally in London. 

I also got many postcards filled in and sent off to different MPs, spoke to local press, wrote newspaper articles and attended a mass rally in London. 
Now that Jeremy Hunt has said that he will scrap the cap I am waiting to see what offer is presented to us in the budget. I am trying to be hopeful but we need to know that any pay rise doesn’t end up coming from other NHS savings. 

As Janet Davies has said, we will not give up on this campaign until a fair deal is reached for both nursing staff and patients alike. We are now entering the phase of the campaign to ‘close the gap.’ Now is the time to come together and fight for what is right for the workforce and for patient care. 

I hope to be able to lead this campaign with you as the newly elected student representative on the Trade Union Committee.

Kate Youngs

Kate Youngs

Student representative on Trade Union Committee

Student nurse

Kate is a student information officer and active member of the RCN. She has been elected to represent Yorkshire and the Humber students on the new Trade Union Committee from January 2018.

Page last updated - 05/09/2018