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Karin Vertue

Nursing student joins Florence Nightingale Students Day

Nursing (Adult) BSc student Karin Vertue was invited to take part in the Florence Nightingale Foundation Students Day. She tells us a about her experience and how she got involved:

I was recently involved in a discussion with the University of Brighton’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris, who said “when the opportunity comes, the answer is always yes” – I took this to heart and applied for every opportunity that has come my way.

One opportunity I took up was joining the ‘We Student Nurses’ team on Twitter. My contributions on this platform led to an invitation from the organiser of the Florence Nightingale Students Day to attend both the event and the evening celebration.

Around one hundred students who are part of the Florence Nightingale Foundation Students Leadership Program attended. The Foundation supports each student develop their leadership and nursing skills whilst working on a health improvement program in their clinical area.

The daytime event took place at Kings College, London with an afternoon visit to The Florence Nightingale Museum and the evening celebration took place at Westminster Abbey in the evening.  

The purpose of the day was developing the leadership skills within each student. It focused on developing interpersonal and networking skills provided opportunities to discuss each nurse’s ideas and offered practical advice and connections from experts in the fields of nursing.

The panel of contributors included:

  • Professor Mary Malone
  • Major Mike Collins
  • Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi
  • Jess Read
  • Jacky Vincent
  • Dr Emma Wadey
  • Lucy Brown
  • Ben Davies
  • Geoffrey Walker
  • Professor Gemma Stacey
  • Professor Greta Westwood
  • Jess Sainsbury

Each gave a brief description of their career path, making it relatable and showing that anyone coming into nursing can develop and achieve their goals.

There were lectures, opportunities for small group discussions and networking opportunities with peers and leaders in the field. A wealth of information was available.

A series of  workshops were offered for students to choose one of particular interest and I attended the group with Dr Emma Wadey who discussed nurse-led research, an area I am particularly interested in. Dr Wadey’s advice was very specific to each student’s questions and practical in nature.

I visited the Florence Nightingale Museum where I developed an understanding of her work and how some of it is still utilised today with particular interest was the significance of infection control measures developed in the Crimea which were useful during the recent Pandemic.

In the Evening we attended a service of Celebration held on behalf of Florence Nightingale Foundation at Westminster Abbey. It was attended by Princess Alexander who has been a patron of the foundation for 65 years. The roll of honours ceremony was very impactful a book which lists all the names of nurses and midwifes who lost their life In the last war and poignantly an addition this year of all the nurses and midwives who lost their lives during the pandemic.

For myself taking part in both the day and evening event has been very impactful. I have felt my passion for Nursing increase and my belief that I can make a difference to people’s lives in whatever area I practice in has been deeply secured. Meeting other likeminded students was incredible. The very practical advice has helped me develop my ideas around research and the areas I want to work in but also gave me the contacts and the tools to achieve it.

My advice to any student starting a degree is that the degree is the starting point. You can leave with a degree or you can leave with an education and a career. You are the curator of the quality of the education you acquire whilst at university. Your time in university will open up so many opportunities and again in the words of Debra Humphris “When opportunity comes, the answer is always yes”.

If your organisation is not part of the Florence Nightingale Foundation you are able to join the program as an individual.

You can find out more about becoming a student nurse on the University of Brighton website.

Florence Nightingale Foundation home page image

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Kerry Burnett • May 23, 2022

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