The Hamilton and the Arts Block may deserve recognition as the main centres of Trinity’s campus, but it can be easy to forget that many students complete their studies off campus, and are absent from much of the day-to-day buzz of Trinity life. This is particularly true for those on placement. It can be difficult to find time to spare for society events, anything from an evening debate to a wine and cheese night or a mixer. Long hours mean less time for play. The establishment of the DU Nursing and Midwifery Society (DUNMS) acknowledged and addressed these unfortunate circumstances. Set up in October 2018, DUNMS is the newest addition to the many organisations currently active on campus. Speaking to the Chair of the society, Ida Lis, she gave a sense of what the society’s motivations are and what their aspirations are for the future.
“DUNMS was erected to cater to this broad range of the student population by providing various events both on and off campus according to the students’ availability and suitability.”
Lis described the birth of the society as a collective desire to create “a sense of community in D’Olier Street”. She expressed the issues faced by their members to commit to any other organisations or societies on campus due to long contact hours and placement within their disciplines. For them, DUNMS was erected to cater to this broad range of the student population by providing various events both on and off campus according to the students’ availability and suitability.
“Lis was adamant that the image and perception of the society remained the same.”
The ongoing nationwide strike in relation to nurses is a pressing subject, and undoubtedly a huge part of the societies’ activities this year. When asked whether there was a tendency on the side of the students to view DUNMS like a union branch, Lis was adamant that the image and perception of the society remained the same; a College organisation that promoted activity and community among students primarily in the nursing and midwifery sectors. She stated that DUNMS members and the committee were involved in the strike, and it was an expression of solidarity with those on placement affected by the issues raised. Although the strikes have stopped for the moment, Lis said that the society will continue to post information passed on by the union, provided it is relevant to their members and the student community. “Our goals as a society have not changed due to the strike. Our main goal is to improve the College experience of our members, and help them make memories.”
For a society that was formed only last term, DUNMS has already acquired a solid following. When queried about the type of students they attract, Lis stated that the majority of members were nurses and midwives, with a small number of involved teaching staff. Bearing this in mind, she points out that the society has been extremely flexible in the attendance of committee members at meetings, to compensate for the busy schedules and heavy hours of the students involved. It seems this is a necessary measure for the society to prosper in the long run. When asked about her own time management and engagement in student life, Lis believed it was her society’s involvement and work within Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) that helped her settle fully into college. There is no doubt that the people behind DUNMS are determined in their aspirations to create a space accessible for students studying on and off campus, whose schedules leave little room for social interaction.
As well as being active in the battle for nurses’ rights and welfare, the society also has high aspirations for their social scene in the coming weeks. According to Lis, there is a variety of events in the works. She detailed the society’s involvement in this year’s Green Week, and their hopes to hold a tea and coffee evening to fundraise for mugs for the D’Olier Street building. She hopes this will aid in the transition of the College towards a more environmentally conscious place that will phase out the use of disposable cups.
“DUNMS has most recently been running a series of lunchtime conversations called Spill the Tea.”
DUNMS has most recently been running a series of lunchtime conversations called Spill the Tea. These are sessions in which students of nursing and midwifery could come, sit, and discuss their experiences on placement with their peers. They were devised to cater to the “social and emotional needs” of DUNMS members, in the hope that the students would find comfort and solidarity in these encounters. Lis listed some other events that are coming up as well, including a careers evening, a mystery tour, and various other nights out.
Despite only being active since the middle of Michaelmas Term, DUNMS seems to be developing into an energetic and innovative society that will continue to grow in its numbers over time. Their attention to the needs and desires of their members reflects well in the way the society is being run, and the organisation of social events and activities. Student interest is at the helm of this organisation and there is no doubt that we will be seeing more of this young and vibrant society in the foreseeable future.