BJ Waltho: extended version of Speakers' Corner
This article supports the Speakers' Corner on page 16 of RCN Bulletin - January 2012.
Sometimes we achieve a lot at our branch meetings and sometimes, not so much! It depends on what is going on like educational events, redundancies, mergers, or change of terms and conditions.
Sometimes when you come out to a branch meeting on a dark wet night and there are only half a dozen people there and you think what is the point? But then you have a discussion, solve a problem, plan an event, or submit an item for the Congress agenda and it is all worthwhile.
So I see our role as being there and responding to the needs of the membership.
Sometimes you just have to listen to people’s issues or concerns, other times you have to act on them.
Attracting new members and activists is an important part of our function so we hold regular education events and study days.
I think the branches are a vital conduit between the members at the frontline and the regional offices and HQ, we help ensure the RCN really represents nurses and nursing.
What I really like about the branch is how it provides a forum for members of all backgrounds, health care settings, and grades to come together to help and assist one another.
I just know we would be missed it we weren’t there but can sometimes be hard to quantify what difference we make. I don’t think we are branches, I think we are the roots of the College.
Without us the tree (the RCN) would not survive: roots anchor the tree, keeping it straight and stable. The roots absorb the knowledge and skills from the members allowing the College to grow, develop and remain strong.
And it is also worth mentioning that we have fun!
BJ Waltho, Chair of the RCN East Dorset branch