Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

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

Join a forum steering committee

14 Jul 2021

Sally Bassett, Chair of the RCN's Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum, and Chair of Forum Chairs, shares her experience of being an activist within the RCN's forum structure, and encourages other members to get involved too.

I am a nurse because this best expresses the values I hold about humanity. Through my nursing practice I serve my community, contribute to the development of the profession, and derive personal meaning. I feel real professional pride in what I do and of those who I work with. I have no doubt that others may say similar things when asked why they are a nurse, as professional colleagues we are united here in the United Kingdom and across the globe in a common bond of wanting to make a difference for others and to supporting each other in our efforts.

Being part of the Royal College of Nursing is an integral part of my professional practice, like many I joined because I believed that nurses should speak out for and advance nursing practice. Being part of a professional forum is a way for me to influence both the development of nursing practice and how the RCN uses my voice to influence nursing policy, negotiate pay and raise the profile of nursing as a serious contributor to the health and social care agenda.

Joining a professional forum was a good first step to becoming part of a professional community whose interests I shared. Information that was shared at an event the forum hosted was a trusted source of help to me. As my experience grew, I knew I had more to give and had more to say! I could see that being on the forum steering committee would give me an opportunity to shape practice further as well as learn more about how the profession and the College worked. I was not disappointed with my decision to put myself forward, working with the other committee members on projects to improve nursing care, sharing the viewpoint of members in consultations, supporting the delivery of workshops and events online and in person has been really satisfying. Working towards RCN Congress is an important part of the forum steering committee’s calendar, helping to develop ideas for the fringe events, discussing how the voting members will support the debates and resolutions really brings alive what it means to be a member with influence. Of course I have had to give my time, but in return not only have I contributed to advancing nursing practice but I have also learned a lot that contributes towards my revalidation, developing my leadership skills and personal effectiveness and building a network across the four countries.

To be honest for a long time I did not consider myself as being an activist, I had quite a narrow view and saw it as something more associated with trade unionism. That is until I came to understand that being concerned about developing practice, finding and using the best evidence and sharing this to inform others so they can develop their practice too makes the biggest difference to patients. In my own way I was actively trying to make to a make a difference. Being a member of a forum steering committee means that you can add your efforts with those of other members who share the same commitment and in our shared contributions we are as members activists for advancing nursing practice.

I believe the forums and their committee members embody the values and ethos of our profession, of which we are rightly proud, and can make a real difference to the RCN’s work. If you want to contribute to advancing nursing practice and want to have greater influence by combining your active efforts with those of others, then join a forum steering committee. At a time when there is unprecedented pressure on care service across all sectors adding your voice and sharing your expertise has never been so important.

The deadline for applying is 4.30pm on 22 July 2022 - don't miss your chance, find out more here.