Ever thought (or worse told) a student that training was better/tougher/more useful in your days as a trainee nurse?
It’s not a terribly helpful thing to hear as a soon-to-be nurse that what you’re giving your all to still isn’t going to make you good enough to practise. And yet many post-registration nurses continue to reside in a world of yesteryear and fail to congratulate and reassure student nurses.
It’s not helpful to the students, the public or the media to constantly hear this message that “Things were better in my day when…”
So I vote that nurses stop it and celebrate all that is good about student training.
That’s exactly what we did last week when we hosted the first-ever Student Nursing Times Awards. We gathered together the best students across adult, mental health, learning disabilities and children’s disciplines, the finest lecturers, the worthiest higher education institutes and most inspiring placements andmentors.
After weeks of rigorous judging involving applications, testimonials, voting and panel interviews, the ten winners of our inaugural Student Nursing Times Awards were unveiled at a glitzy ceremony in London’s The Grange Hotel in St Paul’s.
Our congratulations to them all.
We were overwhelmed afterwards by just how delighted students and their mentors and lecturers were just to attend the event. For many, the defining thing about their student experience has been feelings of exclusion, rather than inclusion. Reading the feedback from attendees struck me how undervalued this group ofpeople are. We should be telling them all the time how fantastic they are – not just annually at an awards ceremony after a few glasses of champagne.
The feedback from the audience was that they never get made to feel important, and that this event did wonders for their confidence, as well as making students understand the value of a good mentor for when they take over this role later in their careers.
The audience was addressed by chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Dr Peter Carter and England’s next chief nursing officer Jane Cummings, who both inspired the attendees and instilled in them a sense of pride for the profession.
That is what all nurses should be doing – ensuring students feel great about the choice they’ve made and have the confidence and support to continue. Fail to deliver that – and you set students up to fail at becoming a good nurse.