But this new campaign will be like no other campaign you have seen before. Members will be the driving force in shaping what happens next.
On 14 February I attended a collaborative event with other members from Eastern and from across the UK to start planning how members want to see the campaign progressing. Patricia Marquis, the interim RCN England Director, outlined the RCN’s new approach to campaigning where members and RCN staff will work together as equal partners in designing and delivering the campaign together. This way of campaigning shows that the RCN is listening and learning from the past and making sure that it’s making changes to meet the needs of its members.
Each region will have its own staffing for safe and effective care team that will involve members, reps and regional staff who will help co-ordinate local events and help support and encourage members’ involvement. There were several key points to come out of this first meeting to help shape the RCN campaign in England. It will not be quick fix and will take time to achieve the changes needed. We only need to look at the campaign in Wales to see this, which took many years to reach the point of legislation. The England campaign will cover all areas of nursing, from the NHS to independent sector, and look at the right skill mix of nurses and healthcare practitioners. It will also be important to link with other RCN campaigns, such student-led #fundourfuture campaign calling for greater investment in nurse education.
The most important point of this meeting was that if we are to succeed we need as many members as possible to be involved. Nurses like me all see and feel the effect that short staffing has on everyone. In an RCN survey, more than half of members said they felt care had been compromised because there were fewer nurses on shift than there should have been. Eastern will be hosting a staffing for safe and effective care campaign planning event to listen and gather ideas on 18 March. It will be great to have more Eastern members involved from all areas of nursing. If you are unable to come but want be involved please get in touch with the regional office or your local branch.
As more members become involved in this campaign, the RCN voice will become louder and stronger and will lead to much needed action and change.