If you are a fully qualified nurse or midwife you can join the largest nursing union and professional body in the UK. Membership of the RCN will give you access to invaluable protection and support as well as an extensive range of 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. Find out more about the RCN Indemnity Scheme.
- 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 2010/2011 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 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. Information on a wide range of subjects is available online whenever you need it at RCN Online Advice A to Z.
- The RCN Careers Service provides advice on writing CVs and application forms, 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. RCN Immigration Services are authorised by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. We offer free consultations to members. If you were not a member, basic advice with no representation could cost a minimum of £100.
- Our welfare service offers practical financial advice.
Learning and development
- 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 e-books. Much of the service is available online meaning you can save money. For example if you wanted to download articles from the Journal of Advanced Nursing, it would cost you $42 per article, but through the RCN elibrary you can download the articles 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.
- If you have an interest in a particular area of health care, you can join one of our specialist nursing 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 nursing jobs. Members based overseas can only access the RCN Bulletin online.
A campaigning voice
- 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.
- We work alongside other unions when negotiating with decision makers to ensure that your pay and conditions are the best they can possibly be.
- You can help to shape the future of nursing and health care through involvement in our campaigns, responding to our regular ballots and consultations, through debates at Congress, or standing for Council, or for election to your regional or national board.
Through RCNXtra members are saving money on all sorts of things – 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 that applies to you you from the list below.
- Nurse first year discount membership for those who have registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for the first time in the last 12 months.
- Nurse full membership for fully qualified nurses or midwives.
- Joint Royal College of Midwives (RCM) membership if you’re already a full member of the RCM.
- Joint educational membership if you are working in a role/area recognised by the UCU and/or EIS.
- Nurse voluntary break membership if you’re currently not working or taking a break from nursing.
- Nurse retired membership if you are an RCN member who has now retired.
The benefits, services, and eligibility of nurse membership can differ depending on your payment plan.
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) [see how to access PDF files], which is approved by the RCN Council.
Don't forget, members who pay tax can claim tax relief on their RCN subscription from HM Revenue and Customs. Download a tax relief claim form (PDF 870KB) and get further information on the RCN website or by calling RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 (8.30am - 8.30pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays). If you haven't claimed before, you can also backdate a claim for the previous four tax years.
- Members on the nurse voluntary break and nurse retired payment plans are not eligible for either indemnity cover or employment support from the RCN but may receive telephone advice from RCN Direct.
- Members on the joint RCM payment plan receive their indemnity cover and employment support from the RCM.
- Members on the joint educational payment plan would normally seek employment relations support from the UCU. The RCN provides indemnity cover, support on professional and nursing issues, and professional or nursing advice.
- There are standard conditions and limitations to indemnity cover which are detailed on the RCN website.