Nursing runs in my family. My mum and gran were nurses, and I was an HCA in the theatres at a local hospital. I saw so many nurses who inspired me. I knew I could do the job but I didn’t have the qualifications, so I did an access course and now I’m doing the degree. It was a great feeling when I was offered a place.
At 31 I’m a mature student. My wife has had to take the brunt of our financial commitments but finances create huge amounts of stress for nursing students and the prospect of student debt puts people off entering the profession.
You’ll likely have encountered our Fund our Future campaign. We need to get tuition fees for nursing students abolished. There are university scholarships and funds people can tap into but the Government needs to do more to encourage people to be nurses. Recently the Government introduced a £5000 grant for nursing students, with an extra £3000 for those studying mental health or learning disability nursing. It’s a good first win for the campaign. It puts more ammunition in our armoury, but we need to celebrate it as a small victory in a far larger battle.
I would love to have a debate with those decision makers sat in Parliament making up the majority and invite them to spend a day with me at work. We need to tell our MPs what we need. It’s about drip-feeding, all of us planting seeds. If we can work together to bombard them with the message, hopefully it will eventually get through and they will get on board.
Until they stop appointing business managers to run NHS trusts and actually listen to ground floor staff I don’t think things will change. There are not enough ground floor people to do the job. It’s all very well having knights of the realm running trusts but unless they’ve done a shift on the ground they won’t understand what it’s like and we won’t see change.
My advice for anyone thinking of coming into nursing is do it! I hesitated for years. Just apply. Yes, financially you’ll be challenged but it’s only three years of your life and then if you get the right job in the right department and you’re doing what you want to do and being supported well then it’s a great profession to get into and the NHS is one of the best institutions in the world.
We aren’t miracle workers but we are borderline miracle workers because of the pressure we work under and the training standards nursing students have to undergo to get there.
We need to make full use of the Year of the Nurse to celebrate the profession. This is our year, we are the future of nursing and that needs to be celebrated.