Students: Join your university nursing and midwifery society

Ruby Tilley and Annabelle Leonard
Nursing and midwifery societies offer a way for students to give and receive the support they often need. Notre Dame NURSOC leaders Ruby Tilley and Annabelle Leonard explain more about the work they do to offer students a vital source of support.

Students perform CPR on dummy

The Notre Dame Nursing Society (NURSOC) was established to provide our student cohort with a voice, a direct line of connection to our academic staff and support. The Notre Dame Nursing Society allows us to greatly improve and maintain our continually applauded student experience throughout the nursing degree. 

As nurses, we are constantly faced with challenges unique to working health care.

It is crucial that we support students and provide appropriate ways in which students can feel supported and heard.

Notre Dame Nursing strongly focuses on the importance of professional practice in our nursing degree, with students completing over 1000 clinical practice hours throughout their degree. Due to the tumultuous nature of the COVID-19 Pandemic our academics and students have been forced to constantly adjust to the ever-changing guidelines. The work that has been done by NURSOC has been invaluable and I applaud the tremendous effort put in by not only the academics but the NURSOC committee. 

The objectives of Notre Dame University nursing faculty speak directly to the importance of pastoral care for students, and this mission has allowed the Nursing Society to thrive under the adversity of the pandemic. Over the past year NURSOC has run a series of online events aimed at improving student morale and directly targeted towards improving student wellbeing. Furthermore, we have highlighted the numerous resources provided to us by Notre Dame including the counselling services, the Sydney Respect Officer and the COVID-19 Hardship Fund.

NURSOC is committed to supporting the mental wellbeing of students and providing opportunities for nursing students to take some time and focus on themselves. Despite the ongoing restrictions in NSW, NURSOC works hard to ensure wellbeing events/opportunities are continuously provided to students. One such event is a zoom run yoga class with professional yoga instructor, Sophia Tilley. This one-hour session was run during lunchtime on a workday, ensuring the majority of our students had the opportunity attend, and take some time away from the stress & demands of everyday life and study. NURSOC recognises that physical activity is essential in maintaining wellbeing for students, and regularly attempts to provide encouragement for students to move and relax outside of university studies. Events such as this yoga session are important in providing a break and promoting the ongoing physical and mental wellbeing of students – an aspect which can be so easily forgotten throughout a study period.

Nursing students on placements are faced with the difficult challenge of juggling full-time placement with their everyday lives — such as study, socialising, and regular employment. Recognising this, NURSOC strives to provide students with the resources and knowledge needed to successfully complete professional practice whilst maintaining student wellbeing. Last year we were able to collaborate with Nurse & Midwife Support to produce a mental health and wellbeing session. The session provided students with easily accessible resources as well as strategies to encourage students to take stock of their emotional and physical wellbeing. NURSOC continues to work closely with Nurse & Midwife Support to engage in discussion around how best to support students during these uncertain times. 

Notre Dame Counselling services have been essential throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With our student nurses working through their professional placement throughout the pandemic, the importance of the opportunity to debrief has been proven to be invaluable to our students. The team at Notre Dame offers confidential counselling services on a short-term basis so that students are able to manage and resolve problems to ensure that they can meet academic and personal goals. The counselling services have been able to swiftly adapt to online sessions via zoom, as well as over the phone consultations to ensure that students can continue to be supported during these times. 

NURSOC have ensured that we are constantly advertising the counselling services provided by the university. We have collaborated closely with the counselling team to ensure that we are well versed on how counselling services are being delivered and to ensure that we are relaying accurate information to the students. The nursing society and counselling team have been quick to seize opportunities where counselling can run mindfulness sessions on campus. These have allowed students to attach a face to our counselling team and have free access to sessions aimed at improving student wellbeing for nursing students.

At Notre Dame we are privileged to have our Sydney-based Respect Officer. Notre Dame emphasises the importance that all university students have a right to feel safe and secure. NURSOC has worked closely with our Respect Officer to ensure that nursing students are well supported in the learning environment. This year our Respect Officer has been able to engage closely with the nursing cohort by providing resources, regarding responding to disclosures and support online. 

We are privileged at Notre Dame to have been provided with the COVID-19 Hardship Assistance Fund. This fund is applicable for all Notre Dame students to apply for should they need emergency financial assistance. NURSOC has actively advertised this to our students to ensure that they are aware of this extra support that the school has bought out. 

NURSOC as a committee is extremely proud of the efforts they have made this year and last year to ensure that students feel well supported during the pandemic and we look forward to continuing with this. Working closely with the school and under the Notre Dame values it is clear why Notre Dame University is a leader in the field of student experience and provision of pastoral care to their students.

Ruby Tilley
2021 NURSOC President

Annabelle Leonard
2021 NURSOC Vice President

At Nurse & Midwife Support we encourage all students to join the nursing and midwifery societies at their own universities. Studying to be a nurse or midwife can be difficult and it’s important to have support from fellow students who understand what you’re going through. The specialised support services and connections formed in student societies are invaluable. 

If you’re struggling with your studies and need to chat, we’re here for you too! Give us a call on 1800 667 877 or send us an email.