By Sam Kitchen, second year Learning Disability (LD) Nursing student, Course Representative and creator of Hull University’s first Nursing Society and member of the We Student Nurses Twitter team.
There are huge numbers of nursing students in each year across the different fields – Adult, Child, Mental Health and Learning Disability at the University of Hull. While there were around 150 students in the Adult field in my first year, there were only 12 of us in LD and because there are so few of us, our community and the peer support we receive from each other is so important.
Through my role as a Course Representative and champion of the All Our Health framework (a call to action to embed prevention within practice by using educational materials, tools and resources), I connected with nursing students from other years and the other fields. I noticed the support they received from their peers was very different to my experience within the smaller cohort of LD nursing. While other students were communicating well through WhatsApp groups but struggling to learn each other’s names in their classes, my group were able to focus on getting to know each other’s background, interests and what inspires and motivates us outside of our role as a student nurse.
I decided to start Hull University Nursing Society to create links between all nursing students, from all years and all fields and help create a sense of community belonging. I gained so much knowledge and support from my fellow LD nursing students which benefited my role as a student nurse but also enriched my life. Every nursing student has a beautiful story of why they got into nursing and experience to go with it, which I believe we can all learn from. Sharing these stories and creating a sense of community and support is what the Nursing Society is all about. The society aims to cater for all student nurses (all years and all fields), which we reflect in our committee. We have one committee member only officially beginning their student nursing journey two weeks ago, with another embarking their final year as a student nurse. We’ve already found huge value just between ourselves as a committee; we’ve been able to seek reassurance from someone who could tell us from experience, (everything was going to be okay) but also reignited that passion we had when we first started by talking to a new student.
Connecting with others, giving and receiving support, advice and encouragement is central to our nursing community. Despite being a new society, we’ve almost reached 100 members from every year and every fields which demonstrates that there was a need for this type of community. We launched officially on 9 August 2020. Since then we have had a stall on campus at the Societies & Volunteering Fair where students from all fields and year groups came to find us to say hello, expressing how glad they were the society was setup and how important peer support was to them. Peer support is especially during the current time while all learning is taking place online and face to face meetings are not available. It’s not been easy creating a new society in a global pandemic with uncertainty about when (and if) we can host events in person, but just knowing how many students’ experiences have already been improved just by knowing this community exists, it will all have been worth it!
The Hull University Nursing Society is open to all University of Hull students. Membership is available to buy online from the Hull University Union website: https://hulluniunion.com/join-in/societies?a=364.