Speaking out about poor care witnessed on placement takes courage; the fear of recrimination must be immense.
As the Francis report has brought to light what really happened at Mid-Staffordshire, those nurses who have raised concerns have shown us student nurses that speaking out and doing so safely is paramount.
Since I started my nursing course, I have been keen to challenge the norm and question why something is done like it is and whether things can be done differently.
I am not the boldest student nurse, if anything I am a little shy, but I would certainly speak out if I ever witnessed poor care.
I became an SOS Student Ambassador because I believe the Speak Out Safely campaign will ultimately improve patient care, and as student nurses this is something we all strive to do in every aspect of our working day.
The campaign has given trusts the opportunity to publicly display their commitment to encouraging and supporting staff to raise concerns, ensuring there will be no recrimination, and that they are safe to do without reprisals or fear of bullying.
The campaign is now asking schools of nursing to also join up, backing the trusts they closely work with and supporting student nurses in ensuring a culture of openness within the nursing community.
Talk to your university, see if they are signed up to the campaign and if they’re not, ask them why.
As student nurses we are the eyes and ears, sometimes we can see things differently to staff that have been there a while. Don’t be afraid to ask why something is done in that way, challenge it, ask for the evidence and research and above all: don’t be afraid to speak out.
Louise Goodyear is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch editor and an SOS Student Ambassador