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This could be the year

Carmel O'Boyle 10 Feb 2022

NW Regional Board Chair, Carmel O'Boyle, on why she chooses to believe that change is on the way. 

Today, I choose happy. In the public and political landscape there is so much anger, recrimination and frustration flying around that it is sometimes impossible to not feel weighed down in the gloom.

But I’ve started off my new year in a positive frame of mind as I have seen first-hand the difference that we can make when we work together.

The government’s recent decision to reverse its plans for mandatory Covid-19 vaccination of all NHS and social care staff was down, in no small part, to the pressure that the RCN and other unions placed on them. Whether or not you believe vaccination is the right policy, and I most fervently do, it is still a triumph of common sense that this policy was rolled back before the nursing workforce was engulfed in an even deeper staffing crisis.

This episode proves my point – persistence can pay off.

For this reason, I am donning my optimistic hat and believing that this will be the year when together we will bring about the changes that are so desperately needed within our profession to keep our patients and ourselves safe.

This sunny outlook may seem without foundation but we nurses dedicate our working lives to making a positive difference and little is ever achieved without hope and belief. I firmly believe that our membership can create the change we all need by getting involved in our campaigns – if we create enough noise together then those in power will have no choice but to listen.

So once again I urge you to get involved in the work of the RCN. It is YOUR RCN – your voice, your say. We are fighting your corner.

Our campaign for Staffing for Safe and Effective Care seeks to enshrine in law accountability for the provision of staffing for health and care services in England. The equation is simple: Too few staff = patient safety put at risk. If you become aware of an issue within your workplace where you feel that the wellbeing of patients is being compromised due to staffing issues, or wish to raise the point as a wider issue, you can use our model letter to raise your concerns with your employer. And remember that help and advice is always available to you via our Get Help pages on our website.

Continuing in the spirit of optimism, I remain hopeful that this year will see a return to in-person events and nowhere more so than at Congress 2022. After so many months stuck at home whilst shielding, the thought of a trip to Glasgow seems like a great adventure and one I would hope many of you would choose to take, too. I have fond memories of working and learning in Scotland and I look forward to finding positive reinforcement and being re-energised by Congress 2022.

Congress is our opportunity to come together, whether virtually or in person, and put in place our plans and priorities for the year ahead. Without your involvement, the RCN cannot know what your wishes are and therefore cannot act on your behalf. As a member-led organisation it is absolutely vital that our members speak up. Remember, my roles as Chair of both the RCN North West Board and of the Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch are in a voluntary capacity as a member. Holding those positions gives me the platform to address you all directly and to try to effect the change you wish to see but these opportunities are open to everyone. Not convinced? Get yourself along to your local branch meeting or regional events and see how easy it is to get involved and what a difference you can make.

Let’s choose to be happy together, to be strong together, to stand shoulder to shoulder and fight for our patients’ right to be cared for in the best way we know.



Carmel O'Boyle

Carmel O'Boyle

Chair of North West Regional Board

Carmel has been a member of the RCN since her days as a student nurse. Currently employed as a nurse practitioner in a walk-in centre, Carmel is also the Chair of the Greater Liverpool & Knowsley branch. 

Page last updated - 16/02/2022