USI has been encouraging students to lobby elected representatives on the issues affecting student nurses and midwives. This video and the top tips below give some advice on how best to lobby an elected representative:
- Make the subject line relevant – In the email subject, use a phrase like ‘Local Constituent Issue’ or ‘Local Constituent Query’ to make it clear that the email is relevant to them as your local constituency representative.
- Address them as appropriate – If speaking to a TD, you would address them as ‘Deputy X’. If they are a member of the Seanad, they would be addressed as ‘Senator x’. If they hold a Ministerial position, they would be introduced as ‘Minister X’. You will be able to find out what positions they hold from the ‘Who is my TD’ website.
- Explain who you are – Introduce yourself in the opening lines – tell them what your connection to them is e.g. ‘I live in x in your constituency’ or ‘I’m currently studying at X College in your local constituency’. Provide further context e.g. if you’re part of community groups or sports clubs, your family works in the community etc. Representatives are elected to represent their local constituency so all of this information helps to grab their attention.
- Explain why you’re contacting them – ‘I’m a student nurse currently on placement in X. The decision by the Government not to provide financial support to me and my peers is having a massive impact on my experience. I get up at x every day to get a taxi/bus to my placement where I work x hours. I have been working x hours in local shop/business/care facility just to be able to afford my rent, food and transport’. Provide as much personal context to the issue and how it’s affecting you.
- (If they’ve previously raised this issue, reference this) – We’ve provided info on the other page about Government representatives who have previously raised the issues affecting student nurses & midwives in the Oireachtas and when they did. Highlighting your awareness of this shows how passionate and informed you are about the issue.
- Request specific action – What do you hope to get out of the email – do you want a meeting to discuss it further? Do you want clarification from them on their position? If they’re from one of the Government parties (Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil/Green Party) you might wish to ask them to encourage their party to reconsider their position on the issue.
- Provide contact details for follow up – Provide contact details so they can follow up with you on this issue – your email address, telephone number or any means you wish for them to contact you.