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Ensuring the voice of nursing students is heard

Members of the RCN Students’ Committee help strengthen the profession by influencing policy and practice, and ensure the voice of nursing students is heard.
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Members of the RCN Students Committee help strengthen the profession by influencing policy and practice, and ensure the voice of nursing students is heard

It seems like only yesterday that I stood in RCN headquarters for the first time, a nervous but enthusiastic second-year student.

Now here I am, a qualified nurse, with two years as an RCN Students Committee member under my belt. And what a two years it has been from the bursary or bust campaigns to the introduction of the student information officer (SIO) award, we have packed so much in. Now we are embarking on the fight for fair pay together.

The RCN students committee is made up of students from all branches across the UK. We work hard to ensure the student voice is heard in RCN policy development and strategy consultation, and

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Members of the RCN Students’ Committee help strengthen the profession by influencing policy and practice, and ensure the voice of nursing students is heard

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Picture: iStock

It seems like only yesterday that I stood in RCN headquarters for the first time, a nervous but enthusiastic second-year student.

Now here I am, a qualified nurse, with two years as an RCN Students’ Committee member under my belt. And what a two years it has been – from the bursary or bust campaigns to the introduction of the student information officer (SIO) award, we have packed so much in. Now we are embarking on the fight for fair pay together.

The RCN students’ committee is made up of students from all branches across the UK. We work hard to ensure the student voice is heard in RCN policy development and strategy consultation, and work closely with universities, student unions and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to help shape the future of nurse education.

Major issues

Our work is guided by nursing students on the front line, and our SIOs work hard to bring the major issues they face to the table. At committee meetings, we develop plans to improve the student experience.

We also develop the student programme for RCN Congress, and as the committee are voting members, the student voice is always represented. One of my most memorable moments as a committee member is a sea of pink T-shirts as students made their voices heard on stage at Congress 2016 during the bursary debate.

Our commitment to delivering safe and effective patient care, and to developing and strengthening the nursing profession, requires leadership, hard work, enthusiasm and motivation, as well as an interest in government policy and politics.

Fun and friendship

Through my role on the students’ committee I have an in-depth understanding of the RCN, its purpose and the work it does. As well as understanding the key components of frontline nursing, my ability to influence the issues shaping our profession today has given me the edge at interviews, enhancing my employment prospects.

When asked what the students’ committee does, I always answer: ‘We forge friendships, have fun and make a difference.’

By becoming active in the RCN, you will work alongside hundreds of motivated and dedicated nurses who want to help strengthen our profession.

So if you believe in yourself and nursing, and want to have a voice in the midst all of the noise in healthcare today, follow in my footsteps and join the RCN Students’ Committee.


Joleen McKee graduated from Ulster University in August 2016 and now works in cardiothoracic surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

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