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5 Tip for Dealing with Dyslexia as a Student Nurse

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Dyslexia

It’s a common story – you do well in school and don’t have too many problems but you get to University and suddenly your grades slump. In some cases it could be a sign that you have a learning difficulty. This could be dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia (among others). Having a learning difficulty is nothing to do with intelligence; it simply means that you have more difficulties in one or more areas of your learning than other people might have. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the things you want to, for example, becoming a nurse.

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RELATED: 10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW AS A STUDENT NURSE

I discovered my learning difficulties in the 2nd year of my nursing course. I developed strategies to aid my work and got the help I needed – I’ve been there, done that and have some recommendations for students with similar difficulties.

1.    Don’t leave things until the last minute.

Now, I have to admit – I’m not great at this first one, but some of my best work was produced when I did start early. This might have been in small doses, reading around the subject or conducting and saving literature searches for later review – but it helped and was reflected in my feedback.

2.    Don’t be embarrassed

There is no need to be embarrassed by having a learning difficulty; one university found that 14% of their student nurses had a formally diagnosed learning difficulty (RCN 2010). If you talk about it you are more likely to get help and to become the best nurse you can be. Your learning could benefit from telling your lecturers, mentors and personal tutor of your specific learning needs.

3.    Do find out what your University can offer

Most university websites will have a page dedicated to educational support. If it’s not easy to find the information simply ask a lecturer or your personal tutor who can point you in the right direction. There are other resources you could use too – like this one from the RCN.

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4.    Do find what works for you

This might take some time – my most effective strategy (using matrixes when reading research papers) I didn’t discover until my final year of my undergraduate course. But it’s good to keep trying new things – what works for others might not work for you, and likewise what used to work for you might not a few years down the line.

5.    Don’t give up

It’s easy to think about giving up on a university education when it takes you twice as long as your classmates to complete a piece of work or you get a lower grade than you were expecting. But with that little bit of extra work you could have a long and rewarding career!

If anyone else has any more tips please comment – it’s good to discuss each other’s strategies so we can all get new ideas!

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Education

Student nurses to receive ‘political lobbying lessons’

The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

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Nursing students will learn how they can work with MPs to promote the nursing profession in a new training session organised by the RCN.

Members of the RCN’s student committee and student information officers – the RCN’s representatives in universities – will learn their way around the UK parliament and the government from the UK Parliament Outreach and Engagement Service.

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The session is designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge they can use to develop a good relationship with their local MP.

The RCN’s public affairs team will talk through the college’s approach to engaging with parliamentarians, especially the crucial role members can play. The team will explain different tactics and approaches students can take as well as what they can ask MPs to do to show their support for nursing staff in their constituencies.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “To work effectively, any union must be able to engage MPs and ministers.

“We know our members make the most powerful advocates for the profession. When frontline nursing staff sit in front of parliamentarians, you can see they listen.

“It’s through the hard work of members that vital issues such as safe staffing, harassment and health policy reach the top of the agenda.

“When nursing faces challenges on every front, the RCN wants to make sure our advocates are fully-equipped.”

Charlotte Hall, chair of the students’ committee, said: “Student nurses represent the future of the profession. Learning to engage with MPs is vital if we are to effectively shape that future and ensure the best possible care for patients.

“With these skills, committee members and student reps will be able to help other nurses make their voices heard on behalf of the profession and patients.”

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Nurse apprenticeships to introduced at nine more universities

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Nursing apprenticeships are to be introduced at nine more universities in England by September 2018.

Nine universities are to be given part of a £4.9 million grant by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to devise their training programmes for nursing apprenticeships over the next year.

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This is the second wave of investment from HEFCE’s Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund, designed to produce 4,500 apprentices from the following higher education establishments.

  • Coventry University.
  • Keele University.
  • Leeds Trinity University.
  • University of Cumbria.
  • University of Suffolk.
  • Southampton Solent University.
  • Birmingham City University.
  • Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Middlesex University.

Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, congratulated the universities provided with funding;

“They will now work with employers to develop new degree apprenticeship provision across a variety of sectors. This will help more people to access higher education, and to follow their chosen career, while closing the skills gaps in the economy”.

Last year, in its first wave of apprenticeship funding, HEFCE gave money to four universities so they could offer nurse apprenticeships from September 2017.

Alongside this plan, Health Education England revealed last month it intends to train up to 45,000 new nursing associates by 2027.

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RCN introduces new infection prevention course

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The RCN has announced an innovative new course which will provide nurses working in infection prevention and control (IPC) with the skills to lead the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

The RCN Professional Development Course for Infection Prevention and Control is an introductory module designed for nurses working in the NHS, independent and social care sectors.

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The course will prepare nurses working in or have an interest in IPC for the current and future challenges to their work resulting from antimicrobial resistance. It will be piloted in Spring 2018.

Resistance to antibiotics in health and care settings is increasing globally as well as in the UK. Public Health England’s campaign, “Keep Antibiotics Working”, recently highlighted the key role nurses can play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Infection prevention and control and the work of IPC nurses is pivotal in reducing the need for antibiotics and combatting this threat in all care settings.

On the programme, participants will develop clinical and leadership skills in the prevention of infection, learn how to lead a service improvement project in their workplace and the most effective ways to manage and sustain change.

Rose Gallagher, RCN Professional Lead for Infection Prevention and Control, said:

“The UK is leading the fight against antimicrobial resistance and the prevention of infection. Antibiotic resistance is a very real risk whereby simple infections are prolonged or become untreatable.

“Nurses have paved the way as clinical leaders in the prevention and management of infection and this course is responding to their current and future training needs. It will focus on practical work-based learning and develop specialist nurses that can adapt to changes in clinical practice and service provision in line with changes to health systems.

“It’s important we focus on the prevention of infection everywhere, not just in hospitals. The role of IPC nurses is constantly evolving and this course will help direct improvements to combat the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance in all settings.”

Further details about the course will be published in the New Year and expressions of interest can be registered on the RCN website.

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