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The role of the Independent Health and Social Care Lead Nurse

My role as Independent Health and Social Care Lead Nurse at RCN Northern Ireland role is exciting and diverse.

Brenda Rushe 3 Oct 2023

My role as Independent Health and Social Care Lead Nurse at RCN Northern Ireland role is exciting and diverse.

My role as Independent Health and Social Care Lead Nurse at RCN Northern Ireland role is exciting and diverse. I have worked in the Nursing Policy and Practice Team for the past five years and have over 33 years of nursing experience, including intensive care, community/school nursing and nursing home management. As the IHSC Lead Nurse, I liaise with RCN members employed in the independent sector and work with colleagues across the RCN, in the Department of Health and Public Health Agency. The role allows me to promote and celebrate the independent sector nursing specialities, including nursing agencies, nursing homes, independent hospitals, hospices, general practice nurses, ANPs, aesthetic nurses, and occupational health nurses. The purpose of the role includes:

Promoting Nursing Specialities in the IHSC Sectors 

  • the Independent Sector Nurse Managers Network (ISNMN)

  • the Independent Sector Network (ISN) (incorporating HCAs and registered nurses)

  • the Independent Sector School Nurse Network. 

As the IHSC Lead Nurse, I act as the staff link for these three active networks allowing RCN members to promote and influence on behalf of the sector. 

The networks have recorded podcasts, published blogs and have hosted events for the independent sector (IS) on various topics such as ‘Revalidation’ and ‘Lifelong Learning Opportunities for Nurses in the IS'.

If you want to join the network, please email me at

Influencing IHSC Policy

Representing RCN members, the IHSC Lead Nurse obtains membership representation with consultations and working groups to prioritise patient safety. Some examples of representation are the PHA Care Home Lead meeting, Enhanced Clinical Care Framework and the Rapid Learning Initiative. These opportunities have allowed members to be the voice of the independent nursing sector.

Influence the RCN UK Independent Sector Strategy

The IHSC Lead Nurse works with the IHSC Transformational Lead and the 11 RCN IHSC Lead Nurses in Scotland, England, and Wales to influence the trajectory of RCN UK objectives and contribute to the IHSC strategy. All RCN resources for IHSC members are available here.

Nursing Policy and Practice (Education, Learning & Development ELD)

The IHSC Lead Nurse develops transformational leadership programs (ELD) specific to the needs of the Independent Sector, including Leading in a Crisis, the Deputy Nurse and Nurse in Charge programs. In addition, a Northern Ireland Independent Sector prospectus is available, which includes all the ELD programs available and the ability to deliver bespoke ELD. Please get in touch with me at for more details.

I am always keen to hear from members and would value your suggestions or ideas about all areas of the independent health and social care. I would encourage you to become more involved with the networks, and we are always keen to develop members who would like to become an RCN representative. You can register your interest here.

Brenda Rushe

Brenda Rushe

Senior Nurse in Professional Practice and Independent Sector Lead for Northern Ireland

Page last updated - 09/01/2024