RCN Council

RCN Council members

The people who make up the RCN's governing body

17 Council members
9 English regions 
4 UK countries
Anne Marie Rafferty

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty CBE FRCN, President

Anne Marie is an academic whose research provides evidence to support safe staffing policy. She is Professor of Nursing Policy at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King’s College London. Anne Marie was named one of the 70 most influential nurses in 70 years of the NHS. She was made a Fellow of the RCN in 2002 and awarded the CBE for services to health care in 2008.


Yvonne Coghill

Yvonne Coghill CBE FRCN, Deputy President

Yvonne is Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England. Having trained as a mental health nurse, she has worked in management and strategic posts for over thirty years, leading major national projects. She has given lectures and keynotes in the UK and overseas. In 2018 she was awarded the CBE and was also made a Fellow of the RCN.


Dee Sissons

Dee Sissons, East Midlands, Chair of RCN Council

Dee has experience spanning four decades across the acute, commissioning and charity sector. She has recently taken up the position of Chief Executive Officer at Rainbows Children’s Hospice, having previously been Executive Director of Nursing for Marie Curie for four years. Whilst at Marie Curie, Dee worked with the RCN to support the development of internal policies around competences for medicines management, and national policy on end of life care. She is currently working towards a professional doctorate.


Richard Jones

Richard Jones MBE, Wales, Vice Chair of RCN Council

Richard has been Vice Chair of RCN Council since January 2019. He has over 46 years’ experience in nursing and nurse education. Between 1990 and 2010 he worked for RCN Wales, latterly as the Deputy Director and Head of Employment Relations, with responsibility for introducing Agenda for Change into the NHS in Wales for RCN members. He works sessionally as an external peer reviewer inspecting NHS hospitals across Wales and sits on mental health panels for detained patients reviewing their mental health sections. He is currently Vice Chair of the RCN Wales Board and President of the RCN's Cwm Taf Morgannwg branch.


Dave Dawes

Dave Dawes, North West, Honorary Treasurer

Dave has over 25 years’ experience in hospital and community care in both the NHS and in the independent sector. He has been an accredited RCN steward since 1992 and first became a member of the RCN North West Board, which he now chairs, in 2002. From 2003 to 2005 Dave served on the RCN Agenda Committee, and he is the public relations officer for his local branch. He is a currently the Commercial Director for Future Care Capital, a charity looking at the challenges facing the health and social care systems in the 21st century, and also a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is also an experienced company director (but executive and non-executive) of a variety of NHS, charity, trade union and social enterprise boards. Since 2003 he has worked outside the NHS in a variety of independent sector roles. He has significant expertise in board governance and financial governance and teaches a variety of modules on MSc, MBA and BA courses including leadership, financial strategy, health policy, global health, financial control systems and board governance.


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Vacant, Eastern

Dr Joan Myers OBE

Joan Myers OBE, London

Joan has nearly 35 years' experience in community settings developing community children's nursing services across London. She has worked in several strategic leadership roles including for the Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Chief Nurse in London. Joan received an OBE in the 2013 for services to children and nursing. She received an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University in 2015. She is a 2018 Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar and received a Zenith Global Health Award in 2018. Joan is a director and trustee with the Florence Nightingale Foundation and has a charity providing education and support for 25 children in Kenya.


Dr Annessa Rebair

Dr Annessa Rebair, Northern

Annessa's nursing experience spans 27 years since she volunteered in a hospice as a teenager. She is a senior lecturer in mental health nursing at Northumbria University where she completed her doctorate, having previously been at the University of West England. Annessa has been a member of the RCN Northern Board and led the RCN's work on suicide awareness and prevention. She is a trustee for the national charity Papyrus.


Fiona Devlin

Fiona Devlin, Northern Ireland

Fiona qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1989. Her main area of expertise lies in adult community nursing but she has held posts at staff nurse, sister/team leader and manager level in both acute and community settings, as well as in the independent sector. She worked as a professional and practice development nurse within the Northern Health & Social Care Trust before secondment as an accredited representative within the Trust. Fiona is an RCN Steward and an active member within her local Branch. From 2013 to 2017 Fiona was an RCN Council member and she sat on the RCN Trade Union Committee from 2018 to 2019. She has been the lead for the RCN Northern Ireland Community Nursing Network since 2013. Fiona is Chair of the RCN Northern Ireland Board.


Geoff Earl

Geoff Earl, Scotland

Geoff was elected Chair of Governance Support Committee in January 2020. Geoff has worked as a community mental health nurse for the Lothian Health Board since 2004. He has been an RCN Steward since 2000, and has been involved with the RCN Scotland Board since he was a student nurse. Geoff was a member of the RCN Agenda Committee 2011 – 2015, and he served on the RCN International Committee from 2014 to 2019. He was honoured with the RCN Award of Merit in 2013. 


Jeremy Benton

Jeremy Benton, South East

Jeremy qualified in 2004 and has worked in a number of settings including flight nursing, critical care and high dependency units in the NHS and independent sector in the UK and overseas.. He has been involved with the RCN since he was a nursing student and has been a student steward, a workplace steward, staffside chair and branch chair. 


Geoffrey Walker

Geoffrey Walker OBE, South West

Geoffrey is a matron with a background in critical care and cardiology. He has developed an award-winning nurse-led unit and has been recognised with an OBE and the British Journal of Nursing’s Nurse of the Year Award. An active RCN Steward he is also Chair of the RCN’s Dorset branch. He has been an elected member of the National Council of the Red Cross and is Honorary Vice-President of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.


Professor Rod Thomson FRCN

Professor Rod Thomson FRCN, West Midlands

Rod initially studied psychiatric nursing before training in general nursing and as a health visitor. He has recently retired as Director of Public Health in Shropshire but continues to volunteer at a hospice in Shrewsbury. Rod was a member of RCN Agenda Committee from 1995 to 1999, a member of the RCN North West Board from 2002 to 2010, Vice Chair of Congress from 2006 to 2010 and Chair of Congress from 2010 to 2014. Most recently he was RCN Deputy President from 2015 to 2018. He was awarded the RCN Fellowship in 2002.


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Vacant, Yorkshire & the Humber

Evan Keir

Evan Keir, Nursing Support Worker

Evan is a Health Care Support Worker in mental health in NHS Dumfries and Galloway. He was accredited as an RCN Safety Representative in 2016 and more recently as a Steward. Evan is a trustee of two charities within the Scout movement.


Amy Fancourt

Amy Fancourt, Student

Amy has a background as a Health Care Assistant in mental health and as a community carer and is currently studying for an MSc in Adult and Mental Health Nursing at City University, London. She is part of the Council of Deans’ 150 Future Leaders of Healthcare programme. She has volunteered with the Norwich Soup Movement, with refugees in Calais, and in Cambodia and Uganda.


BJ Waltho

BJ Waltho, Chair of Congress (Non-voting member of Council)

BJ is Associate Director of Operations at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She was first elected onto the RCN Agenda Committee in 2011, subsequently serving two terms as Vice Chair of Congress before being elected as Chair of Congress in 2018. She chaired the RCN Dorset branch 2007 – 2017. She was given the RCN Award of Merit in 2005 for work she had done as Chair of the Outpatients Nurses Forum.