9th November 2023

Blog | Validation, connection, and empowerment through 150 Leaders SLP Conference

Jenny Brodie is a final year Nursing Mental Health Student from Abertay University and one of our 150Leaders. In this blog, Jenny explores how attending the Student Leadership Programme Conference has encouraged her to step into student voice roles and supporting her fellow students more.

The 150 Leaders SLP is highly regarded by my university and after seeing the positive impact made by our Mental Health Nurse buddy scheme, started by last year’s 150 Leaders alumna, I was supported and encouraged to apply. Finding out I had been successful, and knowing I had the conference in Manchester to look forward to was a real boost to starting my final year. I had been worried I might be ‘the mature student’, but once I got to Manchester, it was clear the 150 Leaders programme values a range of people, ages, experiences, and healthcare fields.

The opening morning was well paced and exciting as we got to know each other, mixing it up in entertaining icebreakers. The inspirational presentations by three 150Leaders alumni highlighting their achievements has pushed me to expand my responsibilities beyond purely academic and clinical work. I have taken on roles such as division rep and being a buddy myself to a new first year student. I find it curious to think that as I am buddy to a fellow student, I am also coached by a 150 Leaders alumna, who in turn, as a member of the current Queen’s Nurse cohort, has a mentor! This aspect of continuous reflection, professional support and lifespan growth and development inspires me as I know that my journey into nursing, and more widely leadership, is well supported through connection. The networking at conference is invaluable to future practice with resources, knowledge, encouragement, and humour only a message away.

One of the best aspects of conference is being among like-minded people whose enthusiasm for healthcare and leadership shines through. Meeting people and comparing our diverse experiences broadened my understanding of what it means to be a healthcare professional and future leader. It was fantastic to have the range of allied health professionals as well as nurses of all fields. I feel I learnt a lot about different pathways into healthcare and the varying university experiences. Sharing best practice and seeking opinions about diverse issues was extremely informative and something I can feed forward to colleagues and university.

As a student mental health nurse, the session on compassionate leadership really resonated with me and the values we develop within our studies. To hear empathy, integrity and resilience being promoted in the face of the challenges we encounter was truly validating for me and my journey into nursing. Discussing imposter syndrome has helped me to clarify my worries about the transition from student to new graduate nurse. Having identified these points, I am working on plans to address them with my coach. Likewise, the opportunity to begin to develop my elevator pitch ahead of applying for my post-registration position has made me believe more in myself and how to portray that confidence. All of this would not be possible without the 150 Leaders SLP giving me a true head start into the leadership role.