In April 2022, I had entered a competition on Twitter with the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF), submitting a 60 second video why I was a nurse leader to win a student’s day in London. I was not fully sure in my head if that was me, even though I had just won a scholarship as Social Prescribing Co-Ordinator for Student Nurse and Midwives across the UK (2022/23). This gave the confidence to think… ‘Maybe I am more than ‘Just a student nurse’. I won a place to attend FNF in London.
The day arrived and it was such a lovely sunny day and I was in a full suit as requested by FNF and I first met up with Sarah for breakfast. From my hotel, I walked across the nearest bridge which gave me amazing views of the house of parliament. I was on such an amazing high, ready for a day of great things. We then walked to Kings College campus and met up with a few other students from the WhatsApp chat. We all sat together over a hot drink, and we got to catch the first glimpses of Professor Greta Westwood. I did feel a bit geeky as I sat there talking with her thinking that I was sat with such a celebrity.
We all got called into the large lecture theatre for the amazing introduction of the day. I was in awe as I was sat around so many like-minded individuals which made me feel like I was ‘Home’. We met some amazing people who had influenced so much over their career, and they were previously, just as we were. I think this was the pivotal moment when I realised ‘I am like them, and if they can make such great changes to health, then so can I’.
We then went to the Florence Nightingale Museum. This allowed us to understand the reason the foundation existed and why Florence, like ourselves and those inspirational speakers, were able to make such pioneering changes to healthcare. Florence Nightingale being so important that she created the role of the nurse and brought in a set of rules to help the survival of her patients.
Later, we had our small group Q & A sessions which highlighted what down to earth these inspirational figures were. They seemed ‘Godly’ at first and the more we spoke, the more I realised all they wanted was to hear about us and what things we had been associated with up to now in our training. During the next interval, I was lucky enough to talk with Lucy Brown who reassured me that I will always be linked with FNF as we were now part of their family.
We then walked over to Westminster Abbey. The service was amazing with such an emotional feeling as the Roll of honours came down the aisle. The service made me feel that I was not alone but a small part of such a big ‘Family’.
I will use this experience to continue to drive myself and my peers through our training to achieve great things, knowing that we can make such a big difference to the people we serve. It reminded me that we should feel honoured to be part of this profession and that we are more than I ever thought we was. I will never forget the experience for the rest of my life and now being part of the FNF family, means I will continue to achieve great things going forward. I have the power to change things and to develop and achieve the unimaginable.