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Welcome to an amazing career

It’s the time of year when many nursing students, the face of the profession’s future, are embarking on their careers, and they deserve to be nurtured and encouraged

September is a time when many nursing students embark on their new career.

Do you remember your first day in nurse training? Chances are that for many of you it was also your first time away from home, maybe even the first time you'd had to manage a weekly budget, or even to cook for yourself. Was it what you expected? Or were there more than a few unexpected surprises along the way?

As a career, nursing has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, and continues to change. For instance, we've covered changing roles, including the emergence of nurse associates.

Amazing career

Nursing is an amazing career choice. It offers a huge range of clinical environments, career progression, the chance to work anywhere in the world, and the prospect of passing on your skills to future generations of nurses.

As we enter the autumn, let’s give a big welcome to all those nursing students who are embarking on their careers, perhaps with a little trepidation but also with a desire to do their best and to make a difference to the patient experience. They’re the face of the profession’s future and all staff need to nurture them, and to encourage them through their training.

Unfortunately – as a new tranche of nurses joins the NHS – we’re seeing a spectacular turn of events at the Royal College of Nursing, where the leadership faces a vote of no confidence at an Extraordinary General Meeting at the end of this month. The general secretary resigned following the furore over her apology about the confusion over the pay settlement.

The real goal

With the NHS in crisis, the last thing the RCN needs is an internal battle that risks taking everyone’s eyes off the real goal: how you achieve the very best patient care in an extremely difficult climate.

Keeping long-existing establishments under review is one thing. And we live in a democracy where challenge is appropriate. But it is important that the internal issues at the RCN don’t become a threat to the union movement, to patient care and, ultimately, to nurses’ terms and conditions.