25th October 2019

Reflections: Zoe visits the Royal College of Nursing HQ

Zoe, student children’s nurse at Middlesex University, shares her coaching experience on the Programme and her visit to the Royal College of Nursing headquarters.

I’ve had over a ten-year hiatus from the corporate world, having spent the interim period chairing the school’s Parents Association, working with various charities, keeping busy in between bringing up the children, I worked around my own schedule. Today, I walked back into the corporate world, for one day, to shadow the Director of Policy and Practice for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and I felt that pull towards the work life I loved but left.

This is not to say that I don’t love what I am doing now, I am coming to the end of my second year as a Child Nursing Student and I have loved every single moment so far. I have jumped at every opportunity that has come my way that is to do with nursing so that I can continue learning contribute to the future of Nurses not just within the University, but on a local and national level.

I met Bronagh Scott through the Council of Deans Student Leadership Programme. Bronagh invited me to the RCN to shadow her and attend meetings. I didn’t know what to expect, how the RCN were involved in policy and to what extent they had influence within Governmental politics. Today gave me a window into how influential the RCN are and the processes they go through for policies to be written, the foundation work that happens for the policies to start as a project, data collecting, analysing, ensuring there is evidence to endorse the policy. I also gained an understanding at the speed that the policy team need to work at to keep in line with the constant barrage of media around nurses and the NHS which is constantly moving with the ever-changing political climate.

I couldn’t keep up with everything that happened in the meeting, the pace at which topics were questioned, discussed, picked up or set aside was fast, I wanted to be able to understand more, I wanted to be able to contribute and then I realised, that to just sit and listen would be beneficial. I’ll be more savvy next time I read a policy, I’ll find time to delve more into what the RCN are working on to better the future of the UK and international nurses.

The people I spent time with made me feel welcome, explaining the role of their department, I felt they were a close team, listened to each other, questioned what they didn’t understand and knew they were in a safe space to ask and share anything. The people I met today are not all nurses, but working behind the scenes for nurses, their team work ethic would be one to replicate on the wards, or in the community teams. I’d like to take the SNAP session that the team carry out at the end of their meeting and introduce it to my student nursing cohort, it would be a great way to lift spirits and show appreciation for each other.

I can envision a part of my future involved in supporting the future of nurses, in what capacity however, I don’t yet know, but being with the RCN today has helped me see that there are so many ways to be involved in leading the change.