Looking back on 2018

 Dame Donna Kinnair 21 Dec 2018 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Christmas is undoubtedly a time for reflection and there's a lot to look back on this year.

Dame Donna Kinnair
2018 has been very busy and we’ve made significant progress on a number of fronts. 
We’ve faced some considerable challenges too.
Pay dominated the first few months as we kept the pressure on the Government and fought off attacks on unsocial hours payments and annual leave.
I won’t re-run old arguments here, but the actions of some RCN staff and elected members did not stand up to scrutiny and, in England, we failed to explain, clearly enough, how members would be affected. 
This led to senior personnel leaving the College and, through an Extraordinary General Meeting, the sitting Council stood down and we ran elections for 2019.
I took up my current post in August and, since then, we’ve renewed our efforts to listen to and represent our members – this will continue into 2019 and beyond.
One personal highlight was our first Congress in Belfast and the wonderful way this brought members together from across the UK to set our agenda for the year ahead. I’m grateful to everyone who came along, including Christie Watson, whose powerful recollection of her time as a nurse will live long in our memories.
Our campaigns for safe staffing legislation went from strength to strength. In Scotland, the Ask for More campaign is influencing the Health and Care Bill as it moves through the Scottish Parliament and, in Wales, we launched a new film which tells the story of how Wales became the first country in Europe to pass safe nurse staffing laws.
This year, we were pleased to welcome more students than ever before into membership. In England, we called for increased funding for nursing higher education, to support these new members with the demands of their studies. We’re clear that without enough newly qualified nurses entering the workforce, there will be continued pressure on safe staffing levels.
In contrast, the Scottish Government heard our call to increase student support by increasing the bursary to £10,000 per year. We continue to highlight the disparity in funding for students in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
Our health practitioner (HP) membership grew this year, too. Across the UK, there has been a strong focus on supporting these members. We've been part of the HP induction programme at one health board in Wales – a pilot we hope to roll out to other parts of the country. In Scotland, we held a special reception at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the enormous contribution of HPs.
In 2018, we helped more members than ever before, with in excess of 1,000 cases open at any one time. RCN Direct continued to provide invaluable support to our members when they need us most. I want to pay special tribute to our fantastic network of workplace representatives who give so much to help our members.
Our professional guidance continues to support you in your workplace and we’ve shared 32 new publications this year. I was particularly pleased to launch our new Infection Prevention and Control Module, with our first cohort starting last month.
We’ll be continuing to develop learning opportunities for members in 2019. 
I know many of you will be working over Christmas and New Year, putting your patients before your own celebrations. I want to thank you for the sacrifices you make, and for your dedication to your patients, your colleagues and the College.
I hope you manage to spend time with family and friends, are able to reflect on the year gone by and, like me, are optimistic about the new year ahead.
Happy Holidays.

Dame Donna Kinnair

Dame Donna Kinnair

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Prior to her appointment as Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dame Donna was Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice and worked with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Before joining the RCN, Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.
Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Page last updated - 01/06/2020