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Student focus - Fight for your rights

Students are voicing their concerns and protesting for better conditions, writes student and new graduate officer Dean Flanagan

The cutbacks inflicted on students and new graduates in recent years have, without a doubt, had a negative impact on the nursing and midwifery professions. However, student nurses and midwives have not given up and are ready to fight for their rights, as witnessed by the recent turnout for the ‘Everybody Loves Nurses’ campaign.

I was given the opportunity to speak to a large number of students at this demo outside Dr Steeven’s Hospital at Heuston Station, Dublin. I discovered that all were ready to be involved with the Labour Relations Commission Claim on April 2, 2014. Now, more than ever, we need students to take the opportunity to voice their ideas and concerns through their INMO branches or the Student Section of the Organisation.

Labour Relations Commission
Many of the intern students at University College Cork and Dundalk IT have voiced their frustrations to me about being paid below minimum wage. Surprisingly, they felt that the INMO had been very quiet on this issue as they were unaware of the process the INMO is currently engaged in with the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

I had a very productive meeting with these students and advised that the INMO is currently engaged with the HSE over the minimum wage issue at the LRC. However, while the Organisation is in negotiations it must respect the LRC’s timeframe.

What is the LRC?

The main function of Ireland’s Labour Relations Commission (LRC) is to promote the improvement of industrial relations. If you experience problems in this area, you may ask the Commission to provide its services to help resolve the dispute.

The Commission was set up in 1991 under the Industrial Relations Act 1990 and has an advisory role on industrial relations. It resolves disputes by providing a range of services to employers, employees and trade unions.

Student Section AGM
Students from every year are encouraged to get involved in the Student Section, which had its AGM in March in the INMO’s Dublin office. Two members were nominated to represent the Section at the ADC in Kilkenny on May 7-9.

Meanwhile, Darren Ó Cearúill was elected as the National Student Section chairperson. Darren is a first-year integrated general and children’s nurse at DCU. He recently joined the INMO and is a member of the Dublin Northern Branch. Additional national officers will be elected at the next meeting of the Student Section on at 11am on May 14. The venue is to be decided.

Question of the month
I am a student nurse on placement and I feel like I am working outside my scope of practice, what should I do?

As a student, you will come into direct contact with patients/clients and their families and will actively participate in giving care that is appropriate to your level of knowledge and practical experience. This will be done with the supervision and direction of a registered nurse/midwife. You have a responsibility to act in the best interests of your patient/client.

As your knowledge, skills, experience and competence develop you will increasingly accept more responsibility. It is important that you do not undertake care that you have not been prepared for, or for which you are not appropriately supervised. If you are unsure, discuss the matter with your supervisor.

NMBI guidance for nursing students
Students should always consider the Scope of Nursing and Midwifery Practice Framework (2000) when making decisions about placements and internships. They should feel comfortable in refusing to carry out tasks that are outside their scope of practice, or advise when they are uncomfortable performing a task without supervision.

Guidelines are on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland website at: www.nursingboard.ie

If you have any queries or questions please feel free to email me:deanflanagan@inmo.ie

Preceptor of the Year award
I encourage students to nominate a preceptor who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help support and guide them through their studies. Send a short, informative piece, on who you think deserves the Preceptor Award and why they should win. The prize will be presented at the upcoming ADC.

The award recognises the vital work of preceptors and their importance to nursing and midwifery education. The closing date for nomination is April 16. Nomination forms are available at: www.inmo.ie/7551

Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon
INMO president, Claire Mahon, will lead a group from the INMO, on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, in this year’s Flora Women’s mini-marathon on June 2. Online registration is now open at www.florawomensminimarathon.ie/

Let us know when you have registered so that you can join the INMO group.

Student focus - Fight for your rights
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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