So why am I the MINT: Men in Nursing Brand Ambassador?

Following our first ever MINT: Men in Nursing Together meeting yesterday, I wanted to write a short blog post about why I am supporting this new network…

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For a long time now, it has been almost expected that if you were a nurse then you were most likely a female. Efforts to promote and support gender equality in the workplace are on the increase, however, the number of men joining the nursing profession is still very low. There are only 11.4% of registered nurses in the UK that are Male (NMC, 2017).

An interesting twist to all of this, of course, is that there are in fact more men are in leadership positions. This is definitely another topic for discussion! But personally, my current focus is that we have a 42,000-nursing shortage that is predicted to increase!

Nursing shortages have been driven by various factors, an ever-growing population, better access to health care, advances in medicine and more effective treatments. I am happy to say that the demand for men to take up a career in nursing is on the rise, this is mostly due to the increasing demand for more nurses in general. I think it is important to note that a lack of men in nursing is not only a UK wide issue, it is also a global concern, which just reaffirms the need to take action. I am a firm believer that we must act on the issues we are facing with our current recruitment crisis NOW. How can we succeed in bridging the staffing gap if we are only recruiting from half a population? We have a duty of care to provide our patients and the public with safe staffing, timely and effective care for everyone. It is vital that we act to increase our workforce to assure we can deliver competent and quality care. Not only should we be driving more men and women into the nursing profession, but we should be as a society supporting and giving more opportunities to different ethnic minorities in nursing, moreover the more diverse our workforce is the better we can represent a culturally diverse population.
This brings me back to why I said yes to representing MINT as their brand ambassador, I am a newly qualified nurse working in an acute medical unit, I see day-to-day the struggles in being able to provide my patients with the best quality care, due to staff shortages, under-resourcing and undervaluing of the profession. I am looking to remove the stigma which is ingrained into us all from such a young age that nursing is ‘women’s work’ and that all ‘Doctors are male’. There should be no mark of disgrace in being a caring professional, regardless of your gender. If you are a competent and skilled individual, with a passion to save lives, then YOU should be a nurse. Gender is irrelevant to saving lives, nursing should have no gender.

 

 

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#FundOurFuture

I have just written to my MP Mark Harper about funding our future student nurses!

You can support us nurses by writing to your local MP on our behalf!
‘Hello, my name is Charlotte Hall I am a newly qualified registered nurse, I work in Gloucester Royal Hospital in the acute medical unit. Alongside this, I also work in the surrounding community health care services. I am writing to ask you to support a new campaign led by the Royal College of Nursing, it is called #FundOurFuture. The campaign is calling for the Government to make sure the new Long Term Plan for the NHS in England prioritises investment in nursing higher education.

Right now, the NHS in England is short almost 42,000 nurses and the RCN estimates by 2023 this will rise to almost 48,000. Put simply, without enough nurses your constituents won’t receive the care they need in the future. I am desperately struggling to provide that safe care now and I am exhausted. I very rarely leave my shifts on time due to the patient care load and short staffing. We often have to skip our unpaid breaks to complete legal documents, provide personal care, vital medications and talk to relatives, as there is not enough staff on duty to take over the workload.

Government reforms to nursing higher education have failed.

Since reforms were introduced in 2016 we’ve seen numbers drop year on year and it’s no surprise that there are 1800 fewer nurses with a place due to start at university. The cost of becoming a nurse is turning people away, just when we need them the most. Nursing students urgently need more financial support if the government is ever going to tackle the workforce crisis.

Nursing students are different from other students. I barely made it through the degree due to financial hardship. my partner and I had to live with my parents just so I could afford to continue studying.

Student nurses spend 40-45 weeks on their course – up to 50% more than other students. This means they don’t have time for a part-time job to earn extra money to support ourselves. They also spend 50% of their time in placement, learning in a hospital or out in the community. Sometimes wards are so short staffed they’ re used to plug the gaps and have to look after patients before they feel ready to. This is not safe or fair!

I have only been working less than a year as a registered nurse and I already fully understand why nurses are leaving this profession. Working conditions are becoming unbearable, Morale is at an all-time low. I absolutely love my job, and I want to do the job more than anything, however it’s continuing to be physically and mentally draining on a day to day basis, during and after my shifts I am left to feel like I am failing the patients as I am not able to meet their needs safely. I feel that nurses are not currently supported by this government to implement safe care to our patients. Please consider the dangers of underfunding nursing education for our future, and I say our future because it affects all of us, including you.

We need you to support nursing students.

As your constituent, I’m asking you to write to Simon Stevens, and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, calling on them to invest a minimum of £1bn a year back into nursing higher education.

I hope I can count on your support.’

Here is a helpful tool to help you structure your letter:

https://rcn.eaction.org.uk/lobby/fundourfuture?fbclid=IwAR3yDBz1yPwiFZ8hqYdbZKDw3wLDr-i13ieHWoYPgXcp2nGprFyGGY785Bs

 

 

The 1st RCN SIO UK Conference

I am very excited to be announcing our first ever SIO UK Conference.

This event is a celebration of the history of students in the RCN and 50 years of the student nurse’s voice.

 

STUDENT LOGO 2018

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speaker is Christie Watson, the author of The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story, which has been described as “an astonishing account of a profession – defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness”. Some of you may have heard Christie speak at Congress last year. She was an inspiration.

This day is about you, how the RCN can support you, and how you can get more involved.

We will be holding a live Congress debate, hustings for the student member of Council, and there will be a Q&A session about all those questions that keep us all awake at night. We will also be launching our new student development programme.

In the evening we will be celebrating nursing students and we will be hearing from a number of members who are particularly well known for their achievements as student nurses.

Places are free but limited so please get your application in as soon as you can.

 

Check out the Agenda here!

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We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible.
Please note this event is open to Student Information Officers only.

 

https://www.rcn.org.uk/news-and-events/events/student-information-officer

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HymZ2pwi9o

 

#Hellomynameis

Hello, my name is Charlotte Hall and I am a newly qualified Nurse, I qualified from the University of the West of England with a 1st class honours in Nursing (Adult) general field of practice. I joined the NMC register in February 2018 and I am currently in my first staff nurse rotation job at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust based in an Acute Medical Unit and Endocrine ward. I am proud to be a part of Gloucestershire hospitals journey to outstanding #J20.

RNHALL
Currently, I am the RCN Student member of Council and chair of the student’s committee. I founded the @BloggersNurse twitter platform, encouraging healthcare professionals to share their learning and experiences, both good and bad. I am a proud ambassador for NHS Horizons helping to transform the perceptions of nursing and midwifery and I have recently become a #Lead2Add champion for NHS England.
I have a strong commitment to meeting the needs of patients and helping their families, by providing them with patient centred holistic care. One of the most important things I have learned as a newly qualified nurse is to never take my position as a professional lightly, we are privileged to be able to provide people with care when they are at their most vulnerable. I particularly enjoyed being a nurse activist and I am always seeking out new challenges to improve practice by being resourceful, economical and responsive to change. I am currently working on a school project with the RCN Students, where we aim to improve retention and recruitment of nurses by going into schools and demonstrating to young people what a dynamic and viable profession nursing is, we also aim to improve gender stigma in nursing.

Have you considered standing for the role of RCN Student Member of Council?

What inspired you to stand for election to RCN Council?

I started off as an RCN student information officer and it made me even more determined to want to influence change. I wanted to be on the RCN Students Committee but couldn’t as I was at the end of my degree. So I rang the RCN and asked if there was anything more I could do. That’s when I was told about the Council role and I thought “wow”. It seemed a lot of responsibility, but also very exciting. Representing 40,000 students on a national scale is incredible. I was scared at first but now I’m so glad I didn’t take the safe route.

What has the experience done for you?

It’s helped me grow personally and professionally and deepened my self-belief. I never stood for the role for my own self-purpose but it’s benefitted me in ways I never anticipated. I’ve met so many people and worked alongside some amazing colleagues as well as MPs, Lords and health campaigners – people bursting with knowledge and wisdom.

What have you had the opportunity to influence?

So much. I don’t know where to start. I was a huge part of the campaign to scrap the cap on NHS pay and have fought for the rights of students at every opportunity. We may not have always had the outcome we desired but we had the drive and we put the work in and for that I am so proud.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Experience isn’t everything. Not all good leaders have vast experience and not all great activists have years and years behind them either. What they do have is a passion to advocate for those who can’t express their voices. I remember being in terrible fear of not having the answer to everything but that’s actually not relevant – in my role, you are there to put forward what members want and you don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes your job is to ask the questions.

Why should students, and all members for that matter, engage with RCN Council?

We say a lot that the RCN is its members but people often don’t realise it’s them. It’s you reading this – every single person that takes action on anything – be it rehydration and the RCN’s healthy workplace initiative or campaigning to change perceptions of nursing, it’s all important. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make the profession better and that’s the goal of the RCN.

What would you say to someone considering going for your position?

Forget your doubts and go with your gut. You only get the chance once – you won’t lose by doing it but you will lose a once in a lifetime opportunity by not doing it. We need more people who are new to the profession to bring their unique perspective.

Could you be next?

RCN Council oversees the running of the RCN. It’s made up of 17 members elected to provide leadership and direction for the organisation. Charlotte will step down from her role in December and nominations to replace her are open now. If you’re keen to be the next student member of RCN Council, fill in a nomination form by 4.30pm on 1 October. It’s your chance to influence RCN strategy on student issues and nursing education.

If you are thinking of standing and have questions I would be more than happy to have a chat with you! Get in touch!

 

https://www.rcn.org.uk/magazines/bulletin/2018/september/five-minutes-with

 

 

The RCN EGM

Hello, my name is Charlotte, and I am your current student member of the RCN Council. Although I have now qualified and have been working in AMU for the last six months, I still give up my days off to proudly advocate your student’ voice and now I think that it’s important for me to speak to you directly.

I have recently become a steward; and now more than ever I recognise the importance of representing my colleagues against injustice.

Since July, I have borne witness to many discussions surrounding the EGM. Some not so pleasant, and inappropriately forwarded to me. However, many have been very insightful and thought-provoking. I have welcomed debate about how the RCN should best move forward.

I believe it is only right the membership expresses its valid concerns, and challenges better ways of working. The RCN is its members; I am one of them. I too am affected by the pay deal and what work the RCN is doing; just like you and all other paying members.

I do agree that change is necessary. And I think changes have already begun. Following the interim report from the external investigation, I believe it has become evident the RCN requires a lead officer for communication; this must be a priority.

It has previously been mentioned that the healthcare profession is trying to step away from a ‘blame culture’ and work more towards asking ‘where did it go wrong?’ As a steward, I would talk to an employer about setting up a capability solution plan, as there is no standard outcome for human error or mistakes made.

So please, when you are considering your vote (and as students YOU have the absolute right to vote) consider that voluntary council members should be given the opportunity to deliver the improvements that YOU would like to see in the RCN for all of us as members.

I have loved my time representing students UK wide; YOU are the future of nursing! Regardless of the outcome of the EGM, I will continue to advocate for students; as my role on council does not define my advocacy, activism and pride in my profession.