Remi Adediran is in his final year of studying nursing at the University of Surrey and is an RCN Student Information Officer (SIO).
In this article, Remi talks about joining other RCN members and staff to lobby Parliament on its proposal to scrap bursaries for nursing students, and why he got involved with the RCN campaign.
"As a final year student nurse, I can testify as to the importance of the student bursary. My wife and I decided to go into the nursing profession in order to be able to give back to a community and a nation which we have benefited from. We both have a passion for the NHS and are committed to its sustainability. Previously my wife studied accounting and I studied environmental management. As a family there's no way we would have survived the three years of our nursing degrees without the NHS student bursary, and I am certain that neither of us would have ventured into the nursing profession.
"The current Government’s irrational proposal to eradicate the NHS bursaries for nursing and other healthcare students has demonstrated their lack of commitment in effectively providing a lasting solution to the staff shortage crisis within the health sector. I believe this proposal will discourage other like-minded individuals, such as my wife and I, who are passionate about transferring their skills for the betterment of the NHS.
"Sometimes in life you read and learn about government policies, initiatives and decisions which you feel are detrimental to the interests of all stakeholders but you feel clueless as to how to make your voice heard. I have always thought that MPs are invisible and could never be reached to offer explanations or to demand accountability. I am grateful to the RCN for its support in providing a platform and a collective voice for so many students and healthcare professionals, and making sure this voice is heard by the right people.
"The parliamentary lobby event was a success as we were able to educate some of the MPs who appeared to have limited insight or may have been misinformed on the bursary matter. For example, one MP actually asked me on the day why nursing students cannot go out to work like other university students. To me, that statement demonstrated a lack of awareness and in depth knowledge about the challenges faced by student nurses who have to be on work placement, which sometimes includes unsocial hours.
"The RCN provided resources to link me to my MP and meant that this approach was respected and also opened up channels for future opportunities. For instance, my local MP sent a personal email showing his willingness for further engagement on the matter and asking me for more information on the RCN and nursing students’ perspective on the bursary matter.
"Working in partnership with the RCN as a SIO has helped me to understand that there is no barrier to greatness as long as one is willing to spare a moment and be committed. Since my involvement with the RCN started I have benefited immensely in terms of professional networking and personal development. Without any iota of doubt, I see myself taking up a new RCN role at the end of my current student role. I would encourage other members to put themselves forward so that they can be a part of maintaining high standards of care for patients, improving the quality of life of healthcare professionals, and ensuring a sustainable NHS."