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STUDENT EDITOR BLOG

Comment: 'Nursing has opened my eyes. And I see the vulnerable being targeted'

Victoria Abrahams
  • 1 Comment

I’ve realised recently how opinionated I’ve become about politics

I think I’ve always had opinions but never really thought they were important.

“What is particularly troubling me at the moment is the impact political changes are having on the most vulnerable members of our society”

However, in nursing our opinions are vital. We understand the NHS and simply must take a genuine interest as our knowledge and experience grow.

What is particularly troubling me at the moment is the impact political changes are having on the most vulnerable members of our society.

I’m not sure if I’d know much about it if I hadn’t joined Twitter.

Before joining the Student Nursing Times team I didn’t take much interest in Twitter but I really see its value now; you get opinions from all kinds of people and it has broadened my horizons and prompted me to research many different things for my own personal and professional knowledge.

“The government have recently backtracked in their plans to cut Personal Independence Payments but this plan was just the tip of the iceberg”

The impact of changes to members of our community with a disability has been profound; you don’t have to search far on the internet to see how financial changes have impacted quality of life, self-esteem and independence.

The government have recently backtracked in their plans to cut Personal Independence Payments but this plan was just the tip of the iceberg and many changes have gone ahead without members of the public knowing about it.

“I used to think that as a country we were doing our best to be fair. I’m not sure that’s correct anymore”

I’ll admit my ignorance right now - I used to think that as a country we were doing our best to be fair. I’m not sure that’s correct anymore.

I am vowing from this moment onwards to never be ignorant of these policies in the future.

As nurses we come in to contact with people with a disability fairly regularly and we really ought to know the struggles they face and how this may impact on their physical and psychological health.

”I want to help people whatever their vulnerability but I just don’t know where to begin sometimes”

We can never truly understand what someone’s life is really like, but I do think we can try our upmost to be supportive without being patronising. At 26 years old I am still a spring chicken of sorts and yes, my life experiences are somewhat limited but I am trying my best to improve my general political knowledge.

I am becoming a bit frustrated by life; I want to help people whatever their vulnerability but I just don’t know where to begin sometimes.

If our government isn’t financially attacking older adults, they’re targeting low-income families. If it isn’t people with a disability, it’s refugees. I can’t fix the world but I can make myself knowledgeable and form political opinions based on this.

So enough about me and my grapples with my conscience. What changes have people with disabilities endured in recent years and what impacts have they had?

  • Approximately 30% of people with a disability live in poverty
  • Employment Support Allowance has been slashed. Do you want to work? Well, tough! The government won’t support striving for independence and self-esteem
  • Independent Living Fund has been closed. The money from this is given to local authorities but it’s important to note that the money isn’t ring-fenced
  • Work Capability Assessment can be a highly stressful process for many

If you were like me, then please do a bit of research. It might just inform your practice - and perhaps your opinion on how the most vulnerable are being treated in our society, and what you may be able to do to help.

Vicki Abrahams is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch student editor.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • michael stone

    Hi Vicki,

    I feel sure that nursing could make a person political.

    I was interested in your 'Twitter opened my eyes' comment, because I posted a piece about e-learning on Dignity in Care yesterday, and the aspect I supported the most, was 'online discussion forums':

    http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Discuss_and_debate/Discussion_forum/?obj=viewThread&threadID=861&forumID=45

    What I wrote was:

    6) I REALLY LIKE the comments to online pieces, especially when they become a discussion. The BMJ, Nursing Times and here on Dignity in Care, frequently feature discussions about the original piece - those discussions, I find, frequently enlighten me far more than the original article did. The discussions are particularly useful in showing up both different perspectives, and whether or not different people are sharing a reasonably common understanding.

    So, I come to my 7) - online courses, need to have discussion forums built in, where the people doing the learning, can discuss things with each other as they go along: I think the presence of a forum to allow discussion, greatly improves the learning process.

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