Friday September 20, 2013
We recently awarded our bursary towards studying the CIPR Advanced Certificate to Jack Graves, Assistant Media Officer at the Royal College of Nursing.
To win the bursary Jack had to argue the case for undertaking a professional qualification in no more than 500 words.
Here we find out a bit more about how he started out in PR and what a typical day working at the RCN is like.
What was your route into PR?
I got into PR through the Olympics! I was working as a project officer for one of the local authorities hosting London 2012 and decided to apply for a secondment to the council’s press office ahead of the Games. This was a great experience and gave me a taste for working in PR. After gaining my CIPR Foundation Certificate from the PR Academy, I was offered a job in the media team at the Royal College of Nursing. It’s fantastic to now be working among colleagues who were declared by the CIPR to be the outstanding in-house PR team of 2012. I’m learning a lot, not only about health policy and the issues affecting nurses, but also about the way the media operates and what it takes to put in place successful PR campaigns.
What does a typical day – if there is such a thing - involve working at RCN?
No day at work is the same but I always start with breakfast accompanied by the Today programme on Radio 4! I will then set off to the office and check my emails and Twitter while on the train. By the time I get to my desk I will already know if there are any news stories that the RCN needs to respond to urgently and I can get on with circulating a media update to colleagues across the organisation.
As the voice of nursing, the RCN is asked to comment on all sorts of healthcare related issues. Much of my day can be spent fielding calls from journalists, drafting press releases, and accompanying an RCN spokesperson to the television studios to take part in interviews. All media requests are potentially valuable opportunities to get our messages heard by politicians and the public, so I have to be sure to respond to every invite received. It can be a very fast-paced and unpredictable environment to work in but I find that exciting!
I will also make time to meet with RCN colleagues working in specialist areas or on particular projects so that we can together plan pro-active media activity. For example, the RCN headquarters in Cavendish Square has recently opened a new Library and Heritage Centre and I have been working to secure coverage for this in the trade press as well as more widely. I was pleased to arrange for Sky News to interview our Chief Executive in the RCN Library and Heritage Centre. Hopefully this will be broadcast soon.
What do you most love about your job?
As someone in the early stages of a PR career I feel lucky to be part of the media team of a high-profile organisation working to shape the future of healthcare in the UK. The RCN typically gets a lot of media coverage; this keeps me very busy but it is all brilliant experience. It is also a friendly, dynamic team, so I know when I come into the office that work will be both interesting and enjoyable!
Why have you chosen to undertake a professional qualification?
I am studying for the CIPR Advanced Certificate because I take my professional development seriously. I want to familiarise myself more with PR ‘best practice’ and to learn about the broader theoretical and historical context that has influenced PR strategies and techniques. I’m looking forward to studying alongside people from other organisations and to sharing knowledge and ideas. I’m sure it will be very useful – otherwise I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice my weekends for it!