RCN house style for print and web



ending for past participle: the cakes were burnt; the word was misspelt. But the money was earned, not earnt. Compare with: he burned the cakes; she misspelled the word

targeted, targeting



singular – “the nursing team is…”

telephone numbers

note spacing: 020 7647 3000; 0161 888 9898; 01213 901234; 07854 123456. “Phone” is now an acceptable abbreviation. To “call” is also acceptable.


30C – use celsius rather than fahrenheit



compare “the car that is red is parked over there” with “the car, which is red, is parked over there” – “that” defines; “which” gives further information


one word

third world

avoid. Use developing country instead


1am, 6.30pm, etc; half past two, a quarter to three, 10 to 11, etc; noon, midnight, not 12 noon, 12 midnight. Avoid ambiguity – for example, if you write “last week” will it still be “last week” by the time your copy is published?


italicise and cap up books, films, TV programmes, conference titles and campaigns: for example The Student Nurse’s Handbook; Nursing: The Way Ahead; Frontline First


be careful – some common terms are actually trademarks for example, Biro; Post-it Note; Hoover; Portakabin. A sentence such as “Patients were nursed in a damp, leaky portakabin” could interest the lawyers if in fact it wasn’t a Portakabin

trade union

but Trades Union Congress


cap up; recognised ethnic group under the Race Relations Act

try to

not try and


as in staff – one word; but “she had to turn over the mattress"