FOUR University of Worcester students have been invited to join the Council of Deans for Health Student Leadership Programme (SLP) for 2018 – a national programme that aims to develop the leaders that will help to shape the future of health care.

Evie Poole, 23, Beccy O’Donnell, 22, and Vicky Reynolds, 40, all from Worcester, are studying for degrees in Nursing at Worcester, whilst Megan Cam, 36, from Malvern, is a student on the BSc Midwifery degree.

Megan said: “When I first heard about the Student Leadership Programme I had just completed an assignment on the factors that enable mothers to choose to have a water birth.

"I concluded that whilst

the actions of individual midwives directly caring for the mother were important, the key factor was the presence of strong leaders who promoted and supported maternal choice.

"This caused me to realise that I would like to work in leadership in the future, to give me the chance to foster the culture of maternal choice and mother-centred care I believe in.”

Beccy said: “I wanted to apply for the leadership programme because it looked like a fantastic opportunity to expand my skills and network with leaders from within health care, as well as like-minded students from lots of different fields of practice.

“In my application I was just honest and painted a picture of how I feel leadership should be in nursing - moving away from top down leadership, with everyone taking individual responsibility for empowering change.”

The Student Leadership Programme offers exposure to leadership training, mentoring, and opportunities to build networks with fellow students as well as established leaders from the health care sector.

For Evie, the programme has already influenced her view of her future career.

She said: “As part of the new generation of nurses within the changing environment of the NHS, I would like to strengthen my skill set to enable me to contribute to a successful, efficient team that puts patient care first.

"I would particularly like to gain knowledge and guidance on how to promote strong staff morale and become a leader who helps everyone work together as a team to make a positive difference.”

With 759 applicants vying for just 90 places, competition for entry on to the Student Leadership Programme was intense nation-wide.

Vicky said: “I have to admit that I hadn’t realised what an achievement getting onto the programme was until I heard how many had applied. It was a real shock to learn I had achieved one of so few places."