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How our forums deliver professional practice activism

Sally Bassett 27 Jul 2021

Sally Bassett, Chair of the RCN's Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum, and Chair of Forum Chairs, argues that the RCN’s forums provide a structure for collective activism, advancing professional practice.

Naturally as chair of the Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum and the chair of the RCN Forum Chairs Committee, covering 35 forums, I am biased in my views about the importance and value of being an active forum member. 

I have also written in a previous blog that I hadn’t considered myself an ‘activist’, seeing this as something that those who were involved in the trade union arm of the college did.  But when I look at the work of my fellow forums and their members and the professional issues that we have collectively contributed to, for example commissioning a soon to be published literature review on clinical supervision to advance what is understood of this practice to inform the RCN’s guidance, my view on activism has changed. The support and influence we collectively demonstrated in relation to the recent petition for the title ‘nurse’ to be a protected in law, and the member representation that steering committee members give on the numerous policy and practice working groups that the RCN leads, I can see that we truly are activists and advocates for advancing nursing knowledge and the profession. 

Collectively we are exerting our influence on the current review of the role and design of forums and networks, which will shape the way forums work in the future. We have collaborated as forums to contribute to the Congress agenda and the supporting Integrated Education events, which is the name for the online version of the Congress Fringe. Many members and non-members have enjoyed the Education Forum's conference this year hosted online and the internationally renowned Research Society conference takes place in September. Other forums such as the Fertility Nursing Forum are recognised nationally as being the go-to experts on all aspects of fertility nursing and the eHealth Forum who promote and are influential in the growing speciality of digital nursing expertise.  

Whether a large or discrete specialty Forum, these opportunities to contribute to national nursing practice, supporting the development of colleagues and making a difference to patient care are made possible by being part of a forum steering committee. These opportunities are open to you by applying to join a committee. It is true it takes time and effort to deliver this impact and make the difference, but the benefit to you and your employer on your personal development is also evident. 

The importance and value of what forums contribute to the professional work of the college is clear to see and that makes me proud to call us all professional practice activists!

The deadline for applying for one of the 32 RCN Forum steering committees with vacancies is 4.30pm on 9 August 2021. Find out more and apply today.
Image of Sally Bassett

Sally Bassett

Chair, Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum

Professional Nursing Doctorate

Sally has held positions at PwC as a Director and Nurse Advisor, at the DoH in England as a Nurse Advisor, as a Regional Deputy Chief Nurse, PCT Director of Nursing and Therapies and as Chief Nurse at Marie Stopes International.

Currently Sally is a lecturer in leadership studies at Oxford Brookes University where Sally is also a Professional Doctorate Student researching successful Chief Nurse leadership.  

Page last updated - 18/05/2022