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Facilitating student nursing

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) council is responsible for shaping the vision of the organisation and for the overall governance of the RCN. My role as the RCN student council member involves listening to the views, opinions, issues and experiences of fellow student nurses and feeding this information back to the council, in order to help reshape health care policies.

As a member of the RCN council, I have the potential to promote, facilitate and support the advancement of nursing on behalf of students as well as the opportunity to develop my skills and experience in leadership and teamwork, which will enhance my career.

I receive up to date information on UK-wide nursing issues and take part in healthcare policy consultations. I am quite excited about the role and I do take it seriously, although originally starting out in this position in April earlier this year it made me feel a little nervous.

I decided to go into nursing while working as a healthcare assistant to help fund my management degree that I discovered my passion to care for people and my admiration for nurses.

An older person I cared for told me: “Sylvia you are very caring, thoughtful and considerate. You are very pleasant in the way you do things and care for people very well. You are the only one who thinks of washing my feet and in between my toes. Why don't you become a nurse? You would make a fabulous nurse.” These words sank straight inside me and brought tears running down my cheeks. I went home that day and started researching nursing courses on the internet.

I was alarmed at the time by the bad press regarding the care for people with learning disabilities. I thought, why should a person with a learning disability not get the same care as everyone else. This is why this field of nursing captured my heart, but what finally did it for me, was when my best friend died of cancer within two weeks of diagnosis. She was the most amazing and caring person I came across and had always encouraged me to pursue a career in nursing. She was convinced that I would make a good nurse. When she died, I made up my mind not to let that year go by without applying for the programme.

In my first year, I attended the learning disability conference (Positive Choices 2014) in London and the RCN congress 2014 in Liverpool. It was so informative and enlightening. I became aware of a lot of issues relating to nursing and the health care profession. I sat at the back of the hall and was inspired to lead a change.

This role means I can help raise the profile of nursing and enhance the student experience.

I am committed to issues affecting student nurses, as I am optimistic about what can be achieved in our society in terms of health and social care if students are well supported.

Through my contributions, I am striving to improve the student nursing experience in areas of difficulty such as; placements, crises, finances, work-place related stress and mentorship issues.

I am very passionate about learning disability nursing and am keen to demonstrate this within my role and experience. I believe it's important that all students are aware of learning disabilities.

I am also looking forward to championing the work of the National Union of Students (NUS) executive council and the RCN as the associated member in order to identify how by working together on the ground, the NUS, student unions and the RCN could do more to support nursing students both at the university and while on placement, and to lobby the government on student issues.