Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

What was your agenda item? 

I presented an item on the availability of courses and resources for nursing support workers and referred to the RCN's pivotal role in making change happen. I said this must include a push to further develop and expand learning and educational resources for our group of nursing staff.

It’s an important issue and it’s something I feel passionate about, so I knew I’d be comfortable when it came to speaking.  

Any tips for writing a submission? 

I often find it a bit of a challenge to get my thoughts down in writing, so I was quite surprised when the idea I submitted was accepted. But if you’re confident in your knowledge and experience in the area, that comes through. My role involves training, so this was something I knew about.  

I’d advise anyone thinking about writing a submission for next year not to make it too long. Mine was just a few sentences, which shows you don’t need to write an essay to get your point across. Writing concisely and accurately is much more effective.

As a manager once told me: if you write too much, no-one’s going to bother reading it.  

What happened next? 

After the item was accepted, I had lots of support from the RCN nursing support worker professional lead to help me get everything organised and ready to present to other members.

We used evidence from the Cavendish report and another later report that highlighted the lack of change over 3 years and the measly 3% of the education budget allocated to nursing support workers, despite the huge numbers of us in our roles. 

Did you enjoy speaking? 

I did feel a bit nervous in the run up to the debate but once I was on the podium, it was fine; even though it was my first time speaking in front of so many people. I had a lot of support from the floor both during and afterwards.

As I was speaking, I looked around the hall and found a group of nursing support workers, all wearing their yellow t-shirts, and focused on them. I knew they were supporting me, so it was a good way to ground myself.  

Just go ahead and give it a go. You’ll be glad you did

If you’re feeling a bit nervous about the prospect of speaking at Congress, my advice is to not think about it too much – thinking about it is the worst bit.

Just go ahead and give it a go. You’ll be glad you did, and it can help make you feel empowered because what you say could make a difference to many peoples’ lives. 

Further information

Read next