After getting out on the picket lines and seeing the power of people being together, I gave RCN Congress a go last year. I’d heard people mention it, but I wasn’t sure what it was all about. So don’t worry if you feel you don’t know that much about it yet; if I’m honest, I didn’t start to figure it all out until I got there.
I’m quite a confident person but I still worried that I wouldn’t know people when I arrived or that I would sit in the wrong place. As it was, there were plenty of people to help me and everyone was friendly. I loved it. What impressed me most was the passion for nursing that I witnessed there.
If you don’t really understand how the debates work, don’t fret. A colleague explained them to me before I went, but it’s one of those things you need to experience because when I got there it very quickly became clear.
Last year's agenda items included health care provisions for refugees and those seeking asylum, abortion protest buffer zones, improving awareness around unconscious bias, and supporting members of LGBTQ+ communities who are victims of hate crime.
I found myself excited to be part of making those important decisions. All of the debates were important for nursing but many of them will make a difference to society as a whole too.
What is RCN Congress?
RCN Congress, our annual conference, is the nursing event of the year. It's free to attend and plays host to debates, keynote speakers, learning and wellbeing events, an exhibition and networking events.
Spend time with nursing peers, hear from exceptional keynote speakers and take part in hot-topic debates about the issues affecting the nursing workforce.
I chose not to speak at the podium this time. I didn’t feel prepared enough, but I think I will next time. If you’re not feeling confident or vocal, don’t worry, you don’t have to be. We need a mix of people there, including great listeners, and you’ll be made extremely welcome.
I loved listening to all the debates but the corridor care one really hit me hard. It was an emotional discussion which reflected what I see every day in work.
I also enjoyed finding out more about what the RCN has done in the past and how nursing support workers have been growing in importance in the College. I went to a helpful meeting of nursing support workers which made me feel part of the team.
Just go, and make the most of everything
I loved being in a room with people who were facing the same issues as me. The exhibition was also helpful to get different points of view.If you’re considering going for the first time but feel unsure, just go, and make the most of everything. Try to go to everything that interests you, but don’t burn out because there’s a lot to choose from.
Sunil is a nursing support worker based in the RCN East Midlands region.
Find out more about RCN Congress and how you can join us in Wales from 2–6 June 2024 to help shape the future of nursing.