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Editorial - New horizons through passing clouds

May I begin this particular editorial, on behalf of the INMO, by extending a warm welcome to the almost 1,600 new undergraduate nurses and midwives who begin their four-year honours degree programme, in colleges and universities across the country, later this month.

In view of this fact this edition of the World of Irish Nursing and Midwifery, has a particular focus upon student nursing and midwifery with contributions from a range of our members who are currently passing through the degree programme. As our new undergraduates begin the first steps, on their chosen career path, we welcome them into the INMO. I sincerely hope that we are beginning a long relationship which will see the INMO, in many different ways providing help, support, advice and assistance as they find their feet in the noble professions of nursing and midwifery.

As we all know our undergraduates are beginning their journey at a very difficult time. Notwithstanding these challenges, which I have no doubt were faced by those who went before us in nursing and midwifery, we all have an obligation to mentor and develop our undergraduates so that they can become competent, autonomous clinicians in the future.

To our new students I readily admit that you will find the undergraduate programme challenging. There will be days when you will wonder whether you have chosen correctly, whether you can deal with the pressures and whether you are making a positive difference and contribution to the care of patients while returning them to good health. I can immediately assure you that everyone, when being educated to become nurses or midwives and, indeed, when qualified, have had difficult days. However I can also assure you that, notwithstanding modern technologies, procedures and therapies, the contribution of the informed, competent and caring nurse or midwife has never been more necessary or more priceless.

It must always be understood that the ill and vulnerable patient/client is still searching for the caring touch. There is no substitute for the deep sense of trust that flows from the nurse or midwife who exercises good judgement, an acute awareness of fragile humanity and, perhaps more important than ever, finds the time, to let the individual patient know they are not forgotten or on their own.

Our new undergraduates are also commencing their programme in the month when we remember the passing of Florence Nightingale over 100 years ago. To mark this occasion a major conference will be held this month that will seek to highlight the horizons pushed out by Nightingale and the strong foundation that she laid for the development of nursing.

In welcoming our new undergraduates I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the 1,600 graduate nurses and midwives who will shortly register, for the first time, as general nurses and midwives, with An Bord Altranais. Good wishes, must also be sent to the first ever graduating classes, from Dublin and Cork, of direct entry midwives who commenced their programme in September 2006.

I recognise that the employment prospects here, in the short-term, are minimal and that dark clouds have gathered, since you commenced your degree, with employment opportunities abounding, only four short years ago. The INMO continues to strive to find ways to maximise the employment opportunities, for our graduating members. While I acknowledge we may lose some of you to foreign shores, I sincerely hope that we will create the environment, which will see you return to this country in the very near future.

So, for some, new horizons beckon while for others clouds are definitely passing. However we congratulate both the undergraduate and graduating groups and we wish you well as you move through life and practice the extraordinary gifts of nursing and midwifery.

Liam Doran
General Secretary, INMO

Editorial - New horizons through passing clouds
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