By Brian Webster, University of Dundee
Nursing is a challenging career and I would argue that studying nursing, even more so. Juggling practice placement, a 50% element of the course, with theory, so assignments, coursework and deadlines, as well as personal commitments, hobbies, interests and for some, part-time employment. For me, being a father of two children, not to mention three dogs, the founder and secretary of a community garden and the student president of the school of nursing and health sciences at my university, I am surprised I have managed to get to where I am in the course.
Determination is one reason and is the main reason I applied for the amazing 150 Leaders Student Leadership opportunity. I remember the application questions, thinking, how can I answer these? It is difficult for many people to talk about their achievements and successes, so arguing why I should get a place on this programme was a challenge, not to mention trying to explain what would this opportunity do for my career, not just my studies presently. It is hard to look forward 5 or 10 years and relate that to the hear and now, but that is exactly what I hope to do with the opportunity.
Meeting the speakers at the two-day welcome event was not something I expected to be doing when I started studying nursing at university. It was a challenge to get into university, never mind to get onto this very popular and sought after programme. Only 50 places in the UK, open to students for several fields in healthcare, it is an honour. It was not only joyful and elated meeting the guest speakers, but also my new fellow peers in this 2020 cohort. A range of people from all different fields in healthcare, from all walks of life, all bringing their amazing skills, qualities and values to the programme.
One of the pre welcome event tasks was to complete a personality test, with my result after several weird and wonderful questions, as The Protagonist: “an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea”. I knew straight away this was highly reflective of me, along with a title I give myself as Constructively Disruptive, because I do take pride in standing up for what I believe to be fair, equal and ethical, all reinforced by the wonderful talks from our speakers at the welcome event. These leaders, including Dr Katerina Kolyva, Stacy Johnson MBE, Professor Nigel Harrison, Joanne Bosanquet MBE and Adele Nightingale, all talked of their journey and perspective of leadership, something every one of us as the 2020 cohort could relate to. Their talks, tips and advice were inspirational and exciting, but also concerning and challenging that not all leaders present and lead in this positive way. This is exactly why this programme is vital and imperative, to ensure the next generation of leaders are leading for the right reasons, leaders who are communicative, adaptable, visionary and inspirational. Something I think each and every one of my peers and I can achieve.