The year just gone brought us suffering on a scale not seen globally for over a century and there will be few of us who look back on this year with fondness.
But for us nurses and frontline workers we can certainly look back on it with pride. The way in which you all stepped up, regardless of age, experience or personal risk, was truly remarkable and, once this sorry period is behind us, we should look back and recognise the incredible things we achieved in the most challenging of circumstances.
To have to work under such relentless pressure, as well as juggling the many and varied demands of our personal lives, means that it has been harder than ever to make time for the ‘non-essential’ parts of life. Into that category it would be fair to place involvement in your RCN – attending meetings, putting yourself forward for an active role, campaigning – those could all be seen as the ‘nice to do’ rather than the ‘need to do’. I cannot take issue with that. But what I can say is that our RCN is here to represent us, to fight for us and to make our profession the most rewarding it can be. In order to do this we need you to get involved. Whether that be by attending our virtual events, signing our #FairPayforNursing petition or even standing for an active role within your branch, your involvement matters.
My time on the North West regional board is now at an end – I have completed my allowed two terms of office and now it is time for new blood to take over. At the time of writing we still have four vacancies on the board and I encourage you to consider standing as it’s an incredibly rewarding role. I am however, pleased that Carmel O’Boyle will be taking the reins as the new Chair of the NW Board. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we make our voices heard at the highest level as we hold the government to account for the decisions they have made regarding our health service and our response to the pandemic. We need to secure their guarantee that they will address the myriad issues facing our profession today – from mass understaffing, poor morale and a pay structure that sees so many of us being paid less, in real terms, than we were ten years ago. Please actively help us to do so as our collective voice can make a roar that cannot be ignored.
I thank you all for your support and input during my time on the board and can assure you I will remain a most active member as Chair of the Lancashire West Branch, NW committee member on the Stewards’ Committee, where I also serve as Chair, and our lead Representative for safe staffing in the region. I wish you all a happy, healthy and rewarding 2021.