It’s a surreal moment for a nurse to find herself at the door of 10 Downing Street. Many photographs have been captured there before and many will be in the future, but 20 October 2017 was our day. Five RCN pay champions, all of whom had contributed throughout the summer to the Scrap the Cap campaign, stood at the impressive threshold, preparing for a photo shoot.
We met one another at RCN headquarters in London two hours before the event. Each of us were there to represent our country or region. The RCN welcome was warm. We discussed the campaign so far, our experiences, and how we see it going forward from here. Of course, our individual work places were also discussed; all nurses love a good chat about that!
RCN staff gave a briefing on what to expect and we then travelled to the gates of Downing Street. Security checks completed, we were free to take formal photographs and many selfies. The reason for the visit was to hand over a petition of 67,000 names urging the UK government to award nursing staff an above inflation pay award. It felt invigorating to bring influence right to the seat of political power and I felt so privileged to be there on behalf of my fellow RCN members in Northern Ireland. At the appointed moment, we knocked on the door of 10 Downing Street, the door opened and the petition was handed to an official. Mission accomplished, another step in the journey towards fair pay for nurses.
We slowly moved away from Downing Street, wanting to make the experience last as long as possible, but the offer of another photo shoot at the Houses of Parliament was too good to resist. When this was completed, it was time to go our separate ways and return to our respective countries. After all, there is more work to be done!