Whether you are a health care assistant (HCA), assistant practitioner (AP) or health care support worker (HCSW) you can join the RCN as a health practitioner member. There are many job titles for this membership category including nursery nurse, dental nurse, nursing auxiliary, phlebotomist and hospital play specialist. See the RCN Definitions of Membership (PDF 126KB) [see how to access PDF files] for more information or call RCN Direct on 0345 622 7100.
As the largest union and professional body in the UK dedicated to the health care profession, RCN membership will give you access to invaluable protection and support as well exclusive benefits and services.
Benefits of membership
- Your membership includes indemnity protection of up to £3 million against claims of clinical negligence if you are at work or on a placement (conditions apply). This includes a 'good samaritan' clause to safeguard you if you go to the aid of someone that needs urgent medical attention when you are outside of work. If you are a midwifery assistant, view the additional information relevant to you.
- The RCN has the largest in house legal team of any union in the UK so in appropriate circumstances, as a member you are entitled to advice and representation by one of our experienced lawyers on any matter of law that occurs in the course of employment. Without RCN membership you could be forced to pay from £120 to more than £300 per hour for a lawyer. In the financial year 2010-11 in England and Wales we recovered over £7.3million of compensation for our members in employment litigation, criminal and personal injury claims.
Advice and support
- We have over 4,000 workplace representatives who can support you in the planning and management of your learning, ensure health and safety requirements are complied with, and make sure your terms and conditions are the best they can be. These representatives are fully trained and work in the nursing profession like you, so they fully understand your needs and issues.
- RCN Direct is our information, advice and support service. We have fully trained advisers available over the telephone from 8.30am to 8.30pm, 365 days a year, and online whenever you need it.
- The RCN careers service provides advice on writing CVs and application forms, as well as interview techniques and career planning. A careers coaching session can cost in excess of £100, but as a member you are entitled to free careers advice sessions, delivered by advisers with a wealth of experience of nursing and health care career pathways.
- The RCN Immigration Advice Service is authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. We offer free consultations to members. Without RCN membership, basic advice with no representation could cost a minimum of £100.
- The RCN's Welfare Rights and Guidance Service offers practical financial advice.
Learning and development
- The First steps for HCAs induction resource can help you with your induction training as well as enable you to gain confidence in basic care skills.
- The RCN has one of the largest specialist nursing libraries in Europe with access to over 64,000 books, key nursing databases, 1,100 ejournals and 1,500 ebooks. Much of the service is available online meaning you can save money. For example, on Amazon the second edition of Skills for nursing and healthcare students is £20. Through the RCN’s elibrary you can access it for free.
- As an RCN member you can use our online Learning Zone to create an online evidence-based portfolio and develop your personal and clinical skills through bite-sized chunks of learning. The Learning Zone includes tools and exercises that you can do on your own and includes areas you might be looking for some extra help with.
- We run events that are specifically designed for HCAs, HCSWs and APs. Furthermore, as an health practitioner member, you can save up to 40 per cent off the delegate fee of our conferences, seminars and workshops – this saving can be between £32 and £104.
- As a member you can join the HCA and AP Network. Here you can get local news, share best practice, debate current issues and get your voice heard.
- If you have an interest in a particular area of health care, you can join one of our specialist forums. The forums help you network and enhance your practice knowledge and skills as well as provide opportunities to get involved in shaping the direction of the specialism. Or, you can just use them as a means of getting the latest information relevant to you and your practice.
- Every month you will receive RCN Bulletin magazine which is packed with news and jobs. You will also receive a quarterly e-newsletter containing news, information and advice relevant to you.
A campaigning voice
- We work alongside other unions when negotiating with decision makers to ensure that your pay and conditions are the best they can possibly be.
- We are committed to campaigning and lobbying to bring about real improvements in the lives of nurses and health care assistants - improving studying, working conditions, and training opportunities. For example, our Frontline first campaign has highlighted local cuts to health budgets and is now seen as the authority on this issue as it continues to receive widespread national media coverage.
- You can help to shape the future of nursing and health care through involvement in our campaigns, responding to our regular ballots and consultations, participating in debates at Congress, standing for Council, or for election to your regional or national board.
- Through RCNXtra, members are saving money on all sorts of things, such as insurance, utilities, high street stores, supermarkets, dining out, leisure attractions, DVDs, holidays and much, much more.
Membership payment plans
There are a range of payment plans available so you can find the right one to suit your current circumstances. Select the payment plan below that's right for you:
- health practitioner first year discount for your first year of health practitioner membership
- health practitioner full membership for health practitioners beyond their first year of membership
- health practitioner voluntary break membership if you’re currently not working or taking a break from your role as a health practitioner
- health practitioner retired membership if you are a RCN member who has now retired.
Regulations covering eligibility for RCN membership, the membership categories, the different payment plans and associated governance rights are set out in the RCN Definitions of Membership (PDF 126KB) which is approved by RCN Council.
Don't forget, members who pay tax can claim tax relief on their RCN subscription from HM Revenue and Customs. Download the tax relief form (PDF 870KB) today. Read more about claiming tax relief or call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 for more information. If you haven't claimed before you can also backdate a claim for the previous four tax years.
If you have any queries about your membership please call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 (8.30am - 8.30pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays).
- Members on the health practitioner voluntary break and health practitioner retired payment plans are not eligible for either indemnity cover or employment support but may receive telephone advice from RCN Direct.
- There are standard conditions and limitations to indemnity cover which are detailed on the RCN website.