September 17, 2013, by Zoë Goodwin

Elite student nurse reflects on the first National Junior Leadership Academy

An elite group of 17 student nurses have recently completed the first part of the first ever National Junior Leadership Academy (NJLA) established by The University of Nottingham. The NJLA aims to support nursing students to construct a leadership identity early in their careers, equipping them to target the challenges they are likely to face due to the healthcare reforms.

The NJLA involves a three day residential retreat and a two week internship followed by another two day residential retreat. The programme also offers mentor support and the formation of peer to peer regional leadership networks with tasks and activities to be completed between retreats.

Victoria Lonsdales, a third year student studying towards her undergraduate Master of Nursing Science at The University of Nottingham is one of the 17 high performing students who have been carefully chosen to take part.

“As soon as I read about the National Leadership Academy I was immediately interested. As a student nurse, studying for my qualification during the current health service reform, I have a clear understanding of the importance of strong nursing leadership. I recognise the immense impact leadership can have on the profession and the future of nursing.”

Victoria was chosen due to her ability to demonstrate leadership aptitude. She is a pro-active student, who leads a range of University projects, including a research project into sanitation facilities in Ghana, UoN Action – a student led project helping student nurses to raise practice issues and inspiring nursing pride – and has also recently been voted in as Vice President of the University’s Nursing and Midwifery Association for the forthcoming academic year.

In 2013 Victoria won the Student Nursing Times Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Affairs, for her continuous hard work and effort into improving education, support and facilities for student nurses. She has also taken on the role of a School of Nursing Education Representative and also as a key member of the Peer Mentoring for Student Nurses initiative.

Victoria reflects on the first residential leadership retreat held at Hugh Stewart Hall on Nottingham’s University Campus: “We covered lots of exciting sessions about developing our personal leadership styles and identities. There was a fantastic opening speech from Dame Elizabeth Fradd about her reflections and experiences as a nursing leader. I found that very inspirational!

“I really did enjoy it. There were really great sessions from Stacy and Laura and all the guest speakers too. I also really enjoyed getting to know and working closely with student nurses from other universities. We were able to compare the differences of studying at different universities and hospital trusts and how this shaped the different ideas we all had. I left thinking of new ways to work to improve our trust.”

The next stage of the programme is a two week internship. Victoria said: “I am now hoping to apply some of what I have learnt at the leadership retreat to my current leadership positions and I am looking forward to finding out and completing my internship. It’s such a fantastic opportunity and I really want to make the most of it and learn as much as I can!”

To read the full press release regarding the National Junior Leadership Academy, click here. 

Posted in Awards and accoladesStudents