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Working on an RCN Forum can enrich your career

Ruth Bailey 30 Jun 2023

Working on an RCN Forum can enrich your career - Ruth Bailey reflects on her highlights with the RCN Women’s Health Forum.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that working on the RCN Women’s Health Forum Steering Committee has been one of the highlights of my career and I feel very privileged to have been offered so many opportunities through it. This year at Congress 2023, I was delighted and honoured to be awarded ‘Forum Committee Member of the Year’ and I have been reflecting on my experiences over the past four and a half years.

Firstly, membership of the committee has introduced me to some phenomenal nurses who share my passion for women’s health and who I otherwise would not have met. There is something incredibly special about being in a team of nurses whose creative energy sparks imaginative ideas for shaping women’s health. We have forged a strong professional network and frequently use this to pick each other's brains on a range of clinical and professional concerns. It is extremely handy to have immediate access to a network of nursing experts. Steering committee meetings are some of the few meetings I genuinely look forward to, as I always come away feeling uplifted and empowered.

Our forum is extremely fortunate to benefit from the guidance of our professional lead Carmel Bagness and from the wealth of expertise shared generously by RCN fellows Wendy Norton and Debby Holloway, who have nurtured and encouraged us as women’s health campaigners and who continue to support us through our activities.

I have been given the opportunity to contribute to development of a wide range of publications and resources, such as the brilliantly practical Women’s Health Pocket Guides, the PMS/PMDD Fact sheet and the FGM Guidance. I have learned so much through background research and preparation and have been able to share this and improve my own clinical practice.

Through my role in the forum, I have been invited to speak at a range of local and national events which has enabled me to develop confidence and skill in public speaking. Similarly, I have been approached to write for the nursing press and was even invited to write a chapter on nursing in contraception and women’s health for a specialist nursing textbook.

Members of forum steering groups are frequently called upon to contribute to national workstreams or represent the RCN at high profile events. This enables the nursing voice to influence policy development, so that the nursing concerns are heard and nursing expertise shapes healthcare. Through the forum I have had the opportunity to contribute to the abortion taskforce and the national strategy for FGM ensuring that the voice of Nursing is heard.

Personal highlights for me include  speaking and meeting members at  Congress, representing the RCN at the launch of the RCOG ‘Better Health for Women Strategy’ at the House of Commons; marking FGM Zero tolerance day at Canada House; speaking at the all-party parliamentary group on sexual and reproductive health; and attending a women’s health strategy event at the National Science Museum.  

Applications for forum steering committee memberships are now open until 21 July 2023, and I would encourage anyone to apply. My work with the Women’s Health Forum has enriched my career and I am confident it will do the same for you. See: Forum steering committees.

Ruth Bailey MSc BSc (Hons) RGN DFSRH QN 
ANP Sexual Health
RCN Women’s Health Forum

Ruth Bailey

Ruth Bailey

RCN Women's Health Forum member

Nurse team leader

Ruth works in sexual health and contraception and has contributed to developing the integrated sexual health service where she works in Brighton providing a one stop shop for clients.

Page last updated - 20/02/2024