Being President of the Nursing and Midwifery Association!

It has officially been almost 3 months since I handed over the Nursing and Midwifery Association to the new incoming committee so I thought I would share a little bit about my experience of being President, but bare in mind I was also Social Secretary the year before too.

My time on committee was amazing and I absolutely loved it. I feel like we accomplished so much and I am so proud of all out efforts, especially from a welfare perspective, which was my main goal this year. I ended up posting a little summary on Twitter to celebrate all our achievements and remember for years to come. I really feel like we increased membership engagement, as well as staff awareness and interaction with the wider university communication. It's been great to see more involvement and also hear all the positive impacts that activities have had on members this year. Of course, we've also had a bigger impact on the community through knitting baby hats to donate to NUH Maternity, plus we raised almost £900 in our Rainbows fundraiser.
In terms of actually being President, I learnt a lot from an organisational structural point of view. I ended up becoming somewhat of an "expert" on the Student Union's rules and guidelines and whilst I did email for guidance and learnt along the way, usually my decision-making was correct anyway. I've always been a rule follower so to speak, but learning the in's and out's of the laws was fascinating to me.

Likewise, I developed and improved on a lot of skills. As a leader, I had to manage the rest of the committee and ensure that everyone knew their jobs and had clear guidance on what to do. I've always taken a leadership role in group work and it is a role that comes quite naturally to me in general. I like being organised and ticking tasks off, so staying on top of things is manageable.

However, that doesn't mean there weren't difficulties as well and sadly, there was a strained relationships which ended up making my last few months miserable and pretty much hell. She was really difficult to work with after Christmas and from my perspective, she had decided at that point that she already wanted to be President for the next year and started trying to take over. Every time a discussion came about, she would have the opposite opinion to me, regardless of the situation. Often she would say other's agreed, but when I spoke to them individually, they would tell me the opposite.

I quickly learnt that different people needed different approaches to being managed and so I had to adapt my skill set in my approach to her. It didn't always work but the effort was there and it's something I can defintely work on in the future. In all honest, I don't think anything I would have done, would have made it easier because she was genuinely just a very bossy person, who thought very highly of herself and had obviously usually been the leader. That has become more and more clear over recent weeks.

I also learnt more about teamwork and having to trust others to complete their jobs. That involved a lot of communication and more so with the Covid-19 situation, we had to adapt our methods of communication to ensure everyone stayed in the loop of what was going on, especially myself. With that, came another harder aspect of the role and that was engagement with the committee. Covid-19 re-set everyone's priorities and so a lot of the work ended up falling on to me to either run, do or organise because some people were on placement and other's were working. The one that did engage rarely told me what was going on unless she wanted something out of it, which probably made it even harder than if I had just done it myself.

This was mainly in regards to the NMA Awards, which she ended up sadly taking over. She waited until the last minute to do anything and didn't really keep the committee involved. I had to ask for everything multiple times and that caused frustration on both parts. The evening event did end up running smoothly, but then the certificates is what upset me the most. She told me she had already made them all and then I had to ask for them twice to be sent. When they were sent, I was truly appalled at the quality. They were really poor quality, didn't have an official resemblance to association and were posters, rather than certificates. I literally can't describe how disappointed I was, and honestly ashamed for them to be associated to me.
The NMA ended up becoming my "child" and I was really sad to be handing over, not because I wasn't ready but because I didn't trust who it was being handed over to. Of course, I am sure the new committee will keep it going and hopefully continue to build and improve it for members but I was not happy with the individual in which I was handing over to.

I was really excited as I tied up loose ends and got everything posted and finalised prior to official handover. I ended up sending social media passwords etc on Friday, even though officially it wasn't until Monday that they took over and yet, the second they got the passwords, they never once said thank you to me literally spoon feeding them everything and then I discovered without hours, they'd archived or deleted multiple posts, already posted something we weren't suppose to and gone over my head. Honestly, I found it really heartbreaking and even writing this is making me angrier and angrier. I just found it really small-minded and petty.

In the end, I had to remind myself that I no longer had the power to do anything about it anymore and I could only hope that people realised that what was being posted was not a reflection of the previous committee. The fact that that, along with their decision about the By-Election, were there first acts as a new committee, is deeply upsetting.

Nevertheless, sadly, it is no longer in my hands and therefore not a whole lot I can do. I am excited to see where the group goes and what they do so we shall wait and see!

Update: having seen some of the changes made recently, including a new logo, it's truly breaking my heart. I've unfollowed the group and feel so sad that I no longer feel welcome in the community I tried so hard to build. I hope the legacy they leave behind is not what I now associate them with and they continue to create an inclusive and welcoming community.