My name is Aiobhin and I’m running to be the next student council member for the Royal College of Nursing alongside one of the student committee members.
I am a stage two student studying Adult Nursing at the Open University and I have been a senior nursing assistant for four years.
I am so passionate about nursing and I want to be the next voice for student nurses.
Some of the issues I will advocate for if I am elected are ensuring safe and effective nursing care; I know that this can only be achieved if there are adequate staffing levels and nurses are paid to reflect their highly skilled jobs- this currently is not being met in Northern Ireland and also UK wide. The government also needs to make the profession more attractive for the nursing profession and increase the number of student places available to meet the increasing demands of the service. As of August 2020, there are 2,000 nursing vacancies in Northern Ireland alongside thousands more across the UK- this simply isn’t good enough nor is it sustainable.
Nursing is a safety-critical profession and there is research that links poor staffing to poor patient outcomes. We have an unacceptable amount of nursing vacancies in Northern Ireland, retention is poor and it is only getting worse with the Covid- 19 pandemic.
Another key issue that I would bring to the forefront if I were to be elected is the lack of investment in community and care homes. Core services such as district nursing have been overlooked even though the government mantra has been care closer to home for years, this needs to be addressed as services are already being stretched enough.
Nursing education is so important and there needs to be more investment into professional development for qualified nurses; students should have access to adequate financial support and a bursary that reflects how hard they work.
Mental health and the well-being of nurses and student nurses is a topic of great importance to me. The suicide rates in Northern Ireland are shocking compared to our population. I fear that nursing through a global pandemic we now more than ever need to invest and increase funding into our mental health services. The anxiety, fear, and fatigue our nurses are currently facing could be helped if there were safe staffing and increased mental health support.
If you vote for me to represent you I will be your advocate and fight for us to have a brighter future.
Voting is now open and will close on Monday 30 November – find out more.