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RCN International

Our international work

We represent UK nursing in Europe and internationally.

The RCN works with UK, European and wider international alliances and stakeholders to influence health and nursing policy globally.

The RCN and Brexit

RCN seeks security for EU nurses

Following the vote on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, the RCN is calling on the Government to secure the future of EU nurses as new figures reveal the extent to which the health service relies on them. More than 33,000 EU trained nurses are registered to work in the UK, which is more than the total number of nurses currently working in Wales. It comes as research reveals the scale of challenges facing the NHS nursing workforce, with one in three nurses due to retire in the next 10 years and a lack of homegrown staff to fill the gap.

The RCN believes the Government must take urgent action to develop a coherent and sustainable workforce strategy for the future that recognises the critical contribution of overseas nurses as well as the pressing need to educate, recruit and retain homegrown nursing staff.

Read more about the RCN’s response to Brexit in August’s edition of Bulletin

Read a guide for RCN members on Brexit and the implications for European Economic Area (EEA) workers, students and family members


Current international issues and projects

RCN partnership with the Zambian Union of Nurses Organisations 

The goal of the RCN ZUNO project is to build ZUNO’s capacity to influence nursing policy and improve nursing practice in Zambia.

With the RCN’s support, ZUNO will be helping theatre teams at the University Teaching Hospital Lusaka to implement the WHO safe surgery checklist.

Read more about the ZUNO project


The Buurtzorg Nederland Community Care Model 

The Buurtzorg model has attracted significant international attention in recent years. Founded in the Netherlands in 2006, this unique community nursing programme has won acclaim for being both nurse-led and cost effective.

The RCN has developed a briefing which looks at the development and successes of the Buurtzorg model, while also identifying some of the challenges which would need to be addressed if the UK were to adopt a similar approach.

Read more about the Buurtzorg model


International alliances

  • European Federation of Nurses Associations
  • Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation
  • European Health Management Association
  • European Public Health Alliance
  • European Federation of Public Services Unions
  • International Confederation of Midwives
  • European Forum of Nursing and Midwifery Association and WHO Europe


Contact the RCN

For more information on international issues, please contact international@rcn.org.uk