25th March 2019

Reflections: Zoe Carciente

Zoe, student children’s nurse at Middlesex University, shares her experience of the Student Leadership Programme so far.

Over the past year I’ve seen tweets bandied about on Twitter about #150Leaders, always encouraging messages, constant streams of positivity. I always wondered how all these people who had just met had this instant click, which was certainly the impression I got through the Tweets. Yesterday I finally understood. I walked, somewhat nervously, into a room of people I knew only from social media and the pull towards each other was magnetic.

We quickly settled into the order of the day, listening and learning about the theory of leadership, selfcare and where this journey can take us from Dr Katerina Kolyva, Nadia Butt and two #150Leaders from previous years, Raluca Vagner and Nick Flanagan. The discussions around the room were insightful and there was a constant buzz in the room of people excited to share their ideas and stories of how we can make an impact. And then the part of the day I was possibly fearing the most… presenting.

Presenting to a roomful of people would normally make my heart pound, I’d be devising ways in my head to get through the presentation as quickly as possible, but when I stood up with my group to present on a scenario we had been given thirty minutes previously, the fears I usually battle with did not appear. I felt encouraged by the room of leaders in front of me and I knew that my group standing with me would fill in any gaps if they felt me falter.

Evening dinner and a chance to speak to others we hadn’t chance to meet during the day and a chance to unwind, together. I think that was the part of the Student Leadership Programme that cemented in my mind that I have met people who will be a huge part of my life. Conversations flowed between us from the Programme to our lives outside of our nursing journeys, the friendships were instantaneous.

Day two and Joanne Bosanquet encouraged us to have the confidence to ask the questions we want answers to, advocate and do the right thing, whatever the consequences. Robin Lansman advised us to be prepared, find out what motivates other people, have your elevator pitch ready, you never know when you might need it and don’t shy away from what we want to confront. We built resilience and emotional intelligence with Adele Nightingale through a mini crafting session, which were a little out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed seeing the end result! Be like a tennis ball and bounce back. Ian Unitt and Mhairi McLellan spoke about the power of social media and tips on more channels to engage with on Twitter.

It’s been an eventful two days, leaving with a project to work on and the promise of a bright future with a group of leaders.