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Student focus - Over and out

As her term comes to an end, INMO student officer Dara Ann O’Malley looks back on both her recent activities and her time with the Organisation

I had the opportunity to take part in RTÉ’s Prime Time in June. The theme of the show, ‘Intergenerational Solidarity’, came about after the release of an ESRI report, which found that people under 45 have been affected ‘dramatically’ by the property crash – more so than those over 45.

During the programme, presenter Pat Kenny suggested that those over 65 should carry more of the burden of austerity by paying more tax from their pensions. He suggested that their benefits, such as the medical card, should be means tested. When asked if I thought that pensioners should contribute more, I said that after working 40-50 years, I felt that people deserved to enjoy their pensions.

On the show I also outlined the difference in salaries for new graduates in Ireland compared to those in London, Australia and Canada. I also highlighted the fact that more than 1,500 nurses/midwives sought verification to work abroad last year and that graduates are emigrating en masse.

The Flora Women’s Mini Marathon
I ran in the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon again this year with the INMO group which was raising money for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. More than 40,000 women took part in the event and thousands of people lined the roads in support. There was an after party for the INMO participants in the Lost Society in the city centre where we celebrated finishing the marathon with a few drinks.

Meeting the students
I recently met with fourth-year students in various healthcare facilities in Dublin, and in the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick. I also met fourth-year students from the Integrated Sick Children’s Nursing/ General programme in UCD and St James’s Hospital, Dublin. In these meetings, I outlined the Haddington Road proposals and discussed employment options for graduates. Most fourth-year students seem to be planning to emigrate when they qualify.

Student Officer, Dara Ann O’Malley, and Martina O’Regan at the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon

UCD Nursing Summer School
I was invited by UCD to speak to American nursing students taking part in UCD’s summer school programme. The students participate in supernumerary placements in Dublin teaching hospitals and attend lectures in UCD. I discussed the structure of the undergraduate nursing/midwifery programme in Ireland, the challenges that graduate nurses and midwives face and the employment opportunities available to Irish nursing/midwifery graduates. I also outlined my role within the INMO and encouraged them to get involved in their local nursing unions.

Young Workers Network
In May, I attended a workshop by the Young Workers Network on ‘How to use social media for effective worker campaigning’. I highlighted how useful Facebook was during the INMO Graduate Nurse/Midwife campaign in providing 2012 graduates with a forum to discuss the graduate programme. It also helped to spread the message about the boycott of the initiative. I also mentioned how engaged the students and graduates were in the campaign and how creative nurses/midwives were at designing online posters and videos for the campaign.

Facebook was a great tool for keeping graduates informed and reassuring them that if they boycotted the initiative they would be wholly supported by their peers.

1913 Lock Out commemoration
I had the privilege of being nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to attend a July Garden Party, to be hosted by President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin to commemorate the Lock Out.

LGBT conference
I attended the INMO’s first LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Conference in the Gresham Hotel in June. Speakers included: Michael Cashman, MEP, actor and gay right activist; Jerry Buttimer, TD; Monnine Griffith, Marriage Equality; Dr Mel Duffy, DCU; Odhran Allen, GLEN; Marian Harkin, MEP; and nurse Marianne McGiffin. The conference was supported by Dublin Pride and Gay Community News (GCN).

My term as INMO student officer has come to an end. During these fantastic two years I worked on various projects. I regularly met with INMO student members to advise them about the services available to them. I lobbied TDs in the Dáil, took part in webcasts and TV programmes and organised national rallies and protest demonstrations. I also introduced a range of discounts for INMO members, organised INMO family events such as the Christmas panto and fundraising events such as INMO charity runs. I have enjoyed every minute of working with the INMO and I wish all the best to the nurse who is selected as the next INMO student officer.

The next step
I have now taken up a position working for a healthcare recruitment consultancy firm. A very different role but I look forward to the challenge.

Student focus - Over and out


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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie