student councils SERIES: amber wait

Emma Bird
Amber Wait
Student Council Member (BOB ICS)

My name is Amber Wait; I am a Second Year Adult Nursing student from Oxford Brookes University. I applied to be a Student Council Member to ensure that the voices of students were being heard to alleviate any pressures or stress they were facing whilst studying. I think the impact that students have is so vital, and I wanted a deeper understanding of this. I also applied to the Student Council to develop my skills as a leader, as well as have contact with senior healthcare leaders in order to network and have more of an insight on what it is like to be a registered healthcare professional.

My goal once I have completed my degree is to join the military as a Registered Nurse, so I am really hoping that my time on this Student Council will help me to build my confidence in speaking with and to authority. Throughout my time on the Student Council, I want to better develop wellbeing for students throughout the health and social care sector, as I know it can be quite demanding and take an emotional toll. I’m hoping in doing this, we will be able to create an environment where students will feel better supported by their trusts and universities.

In addition to this, I am hoping to roll out Shared Decision-Making Councils within universities that have health and social care students. This is because I know that every university is different and will have different issues that need to be met. A Shared Decision-Making Council will ensure that the student voice is being heard not only on a regional level with this student council, but also on an individual basis within universities. I am also hoping to change the way placements are delivered – in terms of the time frame that placement areas are given to students, alongside the support that is received whilst on placement. In conjunction with Sigma Phi Mu Chapter and universities across the south of the United Kingdom, I will be assisting in rolling out shared decision-making councils to universities who offer healthcare degrees.

I was offered a scholarship with the United Kingdom Sigma chapter, Phi Mu. When applying, I had to create a project that I wish to complete over the 2-year period. My project was to roll out shared decision-making councils for universities who offer healthcare degrees. This is something I really believe will benefit not only students, but placement providers as well, as it allows student voice to be heard. Students who work in healthcare are met with a variety of different barriers to studying. For example, clinical demands, placement, time on theory, uniforms, and this will all vary between universities. Shared decision-making councils within universities are so beneficial because university specific issues can be dealt with at a more personal level, as well as on a ground basis.

Within the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Oxford Brookes University student councils, we have recognised that the issues students face is regional wide and supporting these locally through shared decision-making councils is important so that trusts, placement providers and universities can offer a range of options for students in order for us to access support, in ways that most align our needs.

I am committed to assisting universities in beginning shared decision-making councils. I believe that supporting the wellbeing and professional development of students in healthcare is so vital, to help with retention once newly qualified, as well as making the process of being a student as stress free as possible. When in student councils, students will be able to share their concerns in a safe space, with support of members of staff and trust members, who will be able to give them advice and solutions and begin to process these through universities and placement providers.

It has never bene more essential to invest in the future of our NHS, by taking wellbeing of students back into our hands, and coming up with pro-active solutions to our worries.

I have a passion for being able to change and lead on improvements to better the student experience that we have as students within health and social care courses, and I am hoping during my time as a Council Member that we as a council can be students for students!

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