Nursing studies

A student perspective on editorial content

Joining the RCNi editorial advisory board has given Rachel Dakin an opportunity to share the student perspective

Joining the RCNi editorial advisory board has given Rachel Dakin an opportunity to share the student perspective

Rachel Dakin wants to hear from other nursing students about RCNi coverage.
Picture: Tim George

As a nursing student at the University of Nottingham I have many learning opportunities, but becoming the student representative on the RCNi editorial advisory board (EAB) is beyond anything I could have anticipated.

The opportunity came up earlier this year after the board recognised the need for a student representative to join it, someone who could demonstrate a passion for research and education and was prepared to commit to the position for two years.

One of my professors nominated me for the role after being contacted by board member Alison Dinning, clinical lead for education and development at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Selection process

Following a competitive selection process, I was thrilled to learn I had been successful. Eager to get started, I began contacting board members and preparing for my new role, which is to represent the views of nursing students nationally and act on behalf of my peers to help ensure that RCNi covers the issues affecting nursing students.

The board has 20 members. The chair, Dr Caroline Shuldham, is a former director of nursing who is now an independent consultant and visiting professor at Buckinghamshire New University.

Other members include Public Health England deputy chief nurse Joanne Bosanquet, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust assistant chief nurse Paul Jebb, and Foundation of Nursing Studies chief executive Dr Theresa Shaw.

Learning experience

An opportunity to share the student perspective came at my first board meeting, held in June at RCN headquarters in central London. After receiving a warm welcome, I joined in board  discussions about the latest developments influencing nursing practice, research and education.

Items on the agenda included how to better meet the needs of nursing students and newly qualified nurses, the launch of the RCNi decision support tool – a bedside point of care tool to assist nurses with clinical decision-making – resilience in healthcare and transforming nursing roles.

Contributing my ideas was a valuable learning experience, and seeing the specialist knowledge of each board member encouraged me to delve further into topics being discussed.

Issues and challenges

To truly represent the student perspective, I have to keep up to date with the issues affecting nursing students and the challenges they face. As well as my own experiences, this involves reading related material, actively listening to my peers and engaging with social media.

My aim is to help ensure that RCNi content is interesting and informative so my fellow students can relate and engage with it and act on the issues covered.

Embracing this experience has helped my professional development, especially with regard to leadership and decision-making. Applying this learning to my own practice will be useful as I approach my third year of training and work on my dissertation.

Opportunity and responsibility

I aim to do a PhD in the future and to pursue a clinical academic career, and the expertise and collaborative partnerships generated by my role on the board will be invaluable in helping me to fulfil this aspiration.

The role is a huge responsibility, but I am excited by the opportunities it presents. I am particularly looking forward to a roundtable discussion in October to decide on a campaign topic for Nursing Standard for next year.

So if you are a nursing student with ideas about what you would like RCNi to cover in the coming months, and throughout 2019, you can email me at – let me know what you think.

Rachel Dakin is a second-year children’s nursing student at the University of Nottingham 

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