By Christie Church
I was extremely honoured and grateful to be one of the two nursing students selected to represent RGU at the Florence Nightingale Foundation Students Day on 9th May 2018. This was my first time visiting London so I was so excited for this opportunity.
The day began with around 80 student nurses; from all fields and student midwives, gathering in The Governors Hall in St. Thomas’ Hospital. We all introduced ourselves to each other, which was amazing to meet the wide range of student nurses and midwifes with different experiences and motivational stories. We were then met by a panel of inspirational individuals from all different nursing and midwifery backgrounds. The focus of the session was ‘Shaping the future of education, practice, research and clinical leadership in nursing and midwifery’. Each table was given different topics to produce two questions around, although each table produced a number of generic questions as well as the panels answers were so engaging that we all wanted to know more. Every single answer given by each panel member was different yet the same. Some had different opinions and outlooks although they all had the same message around nurses and midwifes. We matter. We are not ‘just’ a nurse or ‘just’ a midwife, we are the heart of the NHS, we do roles that people may not expect us to do, but we get on with it anyways and it’s something each of us were born to do. Its not all about grades, its about care and compassion, its about our ‘calling’ to be a nurse. Each panel member had a different background although a few had stated that they left school with minimum grades and now look at where they are. I had the most amazing morning/afternoon at the panel, it left me truly inspired to be the best nurse possible and make a positive impact to the NHS, as we are the future of it.
We then were given a tour of the Florence Nightingale Museum, which I would encourage every nurse to do at some point in their career, as it was truly inspiring. It allowed us to see the changes in nursing across the years including nursing during the wars, amputations previously done by a hand saw whilst the patient was still awake and many other miraculous things that you couldn’t imagine being done in our current era. The museum also gave an insight to the life of Florence nightingale and all of the challenges she overcame in her career, with her family and in her personal life.
In the evening it was then time for the annual Florence nightingale commemoration service in the West Minster Abbey. Which is one of the most magical places I have ever been, it was truly breath-taking. The service was a celebration of the life of Florence nightingale, as well as celebrating nurses all over the world who make a difference to the world. It also involved several student nurses carrying the lamp of knowledge down the aisle and passing it on to the next nurse to be selected. Throughout the service I felt extremely proud to be a student nurse, I also couldn’t believe that I had gotten the chance to be there, which made me even more motivated.
Overall it was the most spectacular day and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud to be a part of it. I’ll cherish the memories from this trip forever and whenever I need reminded why nursing is for me, I just need to think of this day and all of the amazing people I met.