In many ways I think September can be a difficult old month as it marks the end of the summer and the beginning of the academic year with the winter period appearing on the horizon. So, I will begin this editorial by saying that I hope you had, despite all of our current difficulties and reasons to be depressed, an enjoyable summer period where you recharged the batteries and had a well deserved mental and physical break.
September is also the month when almost 1,600 new undergraduate nurses and midwives commence, with energy, eagerness, interest and more than a little trepidation, their four-year degree programme leading to a bachelors degree and a registered nursing or midwifery qualification.
So, on behalf of everyone here in the INMO, can I extend the warmest possible welcome to all new students. We sincerely hope that this month marks the first step in a journey that will give you a rewarding, challenging and life-long career providing professional care and attention to all those you meet who need it. In addition, I want to encourage you to be energetic, inquisitive and hungry in your search for the clinical and academic knowledge and skills which will lead you to being a competent registered health professional.
I can assure you the INMO will be there to help and advise you, on every step of this journey, as you commence the long and winding road leading to your future career. Our newly appointed student officer (see page X), is there to assist you as you find your way throughout the next four years.
For the rest of us, those who have travelled this road, whether recently or a number of years ago, I say pause, for a moment, and remember the day that you started your nursing or midwifery training. Remember the times when you, full of energy and enthusiasm and a willingness to take on the world, sought advice and guidance, from your qualified colleagues, who all appeared so grown up and professional.
Our new colleagues will only grow into competent and proficient health professionals, regardless of the academic education they receive, when it is fully complemented by learning the clinical and intuitive skills necessary to be a registered nurse or midwife. It is our duty to play our part in bringing those, who follow the road we have travelled, towards that goal of graduating and registering as a nurse or midwife.
The third group that I think of this month are the 1,600 colleagues who will shortly graduate and register for the first time as a nurse or midwife. To each and every one of you I say congratulations on surviving the past four years and of realising your goal. You will now have a qualification that is recognised the world over, and have achieved, and demonstrated the necessary academic and clinical skills that allow you to help patients and clients be restored to full health or reach their full potential.
While this may sound more than a little romantic being a nurse or midwife is a hugely challenging and responsible role. It is therefore your responsibility to go forward and, wherever you practice nursing and midwifery, to do so with knowledge, competence, gentleness and dedication. Your patients/clients deserve nothing less.
So, September brings with it many things. For our part the challenge, regardless of the external pressures that exist, is to unite, whether we are just entering, whether we are just qualifying or whether we are long qualified, in the never ending struggle to protect our patients, protect ourselves and ensure safe care and safe practice at all times. This challenge will never end but, collectively, we will never fail to meet it.
General Secretary, INMO