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Yorkshire and the Humber student update - getting more from your membership at Congress

7 Sep 2016

Bradford student Vanessa Shaw knows that going to Congress is one way of making sure you get the most out of your RCN membership. She wrote about her experience.

Having attended Congress in Bournemouth in 2015, I couldn't wait to get plans started for Congress 2016 in Glasgow. Now as a Student Information Officer (SIO) for the RCN, I contacted the Yorkshire and the Humber office to apply for funding to take a group. Staff were supportive and helpful and stayed in contact to answer questions and guide me.

Advertising via student society Facebook pages was convenient and students could ask questions. We used this to arrange meeting and shared transport, as students felt they could communicate more easily as a group this way.

Staying near Congress was great, we could nip back to the hotel between sessions to drop off all the amazing free goodies we collected from the stalls. There was an array of different organisations attending Congress, and also the opportunity to try on historic nursing uniforms to celebrate the RCN Centenary. Registration was easy and we received our lovely pink t-shirts, which made us proud to be students. For me, the highlight of the event was when a mass of students walked on to the stage, to oppose the removal of the student bursary.

Staying three days at Congress was amazing, especially when we attended the Sunday evening event for Yorkshire and the Humber members at the Grand Hotel Glasgow. The food and music were amazing and we were able to network with other health professionals. We felt so welcome.

There was so much to do, some of us students were up bright and early for the yoga session the next morning, this was relaxing and professionally taught and we also had a giggle. On a more serious but beneficial level, students were able to attend a programme especially for them, on subjects around Patient Blood Management and Tissue Donation and also Self-Care, sustaining and improving mental health and well-being.

I can't express enough words on the importance of attending Congress, there is so much to gain and learn. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, was there expressing her concerns and showing her support around the scrapping of the student bursary as well. There are so many opportunities to network with different trusts and organisations, the staff were helpfuland we all walked away with lots of freebies and useful information. I'm looking forwarding to attending next year's Congress as a third year student.

You can register your interest in Congress 2017 here.