Looking at the bigger picture

A new training programme for RCN branch and board committee members is launching

In 2019 a new learning and development programme will be available for all RCN board and branch committee members. 

Helen Inskip, a former branch secretary who took part in the pilot sessions, explains why she found the programme so valuable.

The Committee Member Learning and Development Programme is designed to help branch and board committee members better understand the structure of the RCN and how their role fits within it. It highlights the differences between the roles of board and branch members and demonstrates how members in these roles can work together.

The programme includes a one-day foundation course for new committee members and a one-day development module for existing committee members.

Helen Inskip, who is now a member of the RCN UK Stewards Committee, attended both sessions as part of the pilot programme when she was branch secretary for the East Midlands region. 

She says: “For the foundation module, we looked at the overall governance structure of the RCN. I think it can be quite complicated to understand where your particular board, branch or committee sits within the grand scheme of things so this made it much clearer. 

It can be complicated to understand where your particular board, branch or committee sits within the grand scheme of things

“We also learnt about the NOLAN principles - seven ethical standards which all committee members should sign up to in order to carry out their role to the best of their ability.”

For the development module, attendees were divided into groups depending on their particular role. 

“This was really valuable because the programme outlined exactly what was expected of you,” says Helen. “We learnt about effective leadership strategies and how to engage with members. 

“We also looked at how to link priorities – national priorities, regional priorities and branch priorities – and talked about ways we could bring all of these together."

Helen Inskip, RCN Steward

Helen Inskip

Creating consistency

Previously, training for board and branch committee members has been carried out locally but this new national programme aims to bring consistency across the countries and regions, and Helen says it has other benefits too.

“There was quite a mix of people in attendance which was great for networking,” she explains. 

“I was able to connect with staff from different branches to see how they were doing things and what was working well in their area.”

I was able to connect with staff from different branches to see how they were doing things and what was working well in their area

The programme is open to all branch and board committee members and Helen thinks no matter what your level of experience, it is worth attending: “I’d highly recommend the programme to anyone. 

“I already had a lot of experience in a branch role when I attended but it was still so valuable and it has been valuable for my role on the RCN UK Stewards Committee too. It makes you look at your own behaviour and helps you to understand what’s expected of you and what you can expect of others. 

“It gives you an understanding of how you fit into the bigger RCN picture and how everyone can work together to achieve the best for members.”

Book your place for next year

The RCN will be running three foundation modules – one each in the north of England, south of England and the Midlands – for newly elected board and branch committee members. Regional staff will invite new committee members following the outcome of recent elections.

Each RCN country and region will be delivering a development module for all board and branch committee members from next year. Members will be invited by their respective country or region to take part.

If you want more information, contact your RCN country or regional office.

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