Who better to tell you about the role than the current mental health branch Student Nursing Times editor?
I’m a little astonished to be writing this right now, to be quite honest: not only that I was selected as Student Nursing Times editor for Mental Health for 2013/14 in the first place (as a lowly first year student nurse, barely six months into my degree when I had my interview, I never expected to be chosen!) but more than that - I can’t believe it’s been a year since I was reading my predecessor’s post encouraging people to apply!
I was on placement when I had the interview, with the Primary Care Mental Health Team, and I remember nervously sitting waiting for the phonecall during my lunchbreak, and thinking afterwards how I’d definitely fluffed it - so finding out that I’d been successful was an incredible moment! I was really proud of myself, and super excited for the year ahead.
And it has been a really good year. Despite my own personal struggles, which I’ve written about in some of my monthly columns, actually writing for Student Nursing Times helped me to overcome the difficulties: it gave me a great feeling of each month - seeing positive comments on my posts really boosted my self-esteem and confidence.
It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows, of course - there were a couple of months where deadlines crept up on me quite suddenly, and I found myself tapping out my monthly post on my phone, whilst on the train into university - but overall, my editorship has been a greatly positive experience.
Academically, I’ve improved my writing: blogging each month has been great reflective practice, and when I found that one of my essays this year was a reflective piece, I was far less scared than some of my peers, having spent the last eight months honing those skills for SNT!
Personally, the supportive network I’ve developed and built with the other editors and the Nursing Times team has been wonderful - it isn’t just online, but meeting up with the NT editor Jenni at RCN Congress for a quick catchup one morning, and last month I found myself on the phone to Rachael, the Child branch editor, to consult her opinion on a life decision I was facing!
Socially, I’ve gained a lot: it was wonderful to get to meet the other editors at the Student Nursing Times Awards in May this year - and getting up on stage and helping hand out the Awards to the winners was simultaneously nerve-wracking and exciting, and inspirational too.
Professionally, to be able to say I wrote an article each month for SNT is going to look great on my CV (and I hope Fran doesn’t think that retiring from my role will mean an end to posts landing in her inbox - I hope to continue writing ‘unofficially’ as long as she’ll let me!) and, of course, the reflection opportunities have almost certainly improved my practice. I also got to attend a conference in London last month as a Student Nursing Times editor, which was wonderful for my development as a nurse-to-be.
This time last year, I was thinking “What’s the worst that can happen?” - well, the answer is: an extra 500-600 words to write each month, critique on your writing style, personal and professional development, new friends… and that doesn’t seem all that bad really!
So, if you’re considering taking on the role of Student Nursing Times Editor for 2014/15… I say “Go for it!”
Katie Sutton is Student Nursing Times mental health branch editor for 2013/14