As a board member and RCN Northern Ireland Board Chair, I am fulfilling a vital governance role in helping the Board to achieve its purpose, representing the RCN and its members within the context of wider health and social care developments which impact upon nursing and patient care.
My experience to date helps me to understand the strategic policies and professional and political drivers that affect the nursing profession in Northern Ireland. The role has enabled me to ensure the voice of nurses and nursing, both at local and strategic level, is heard in these challenging times. It has equipped me with the local and strategic knowledge and experience that helps me to continue to influence the development of nursing and healthcare within Northern Ireland and on a national scale. I have had the opportunity to forge links and develop a network of contacts in various HSC arenas which has helped me to act as a critical friend for the RCN, as an advocate and representative of members in Northern Ireland as we go through strategic change in health care provision.
As a board member you have the opportunity to be more involved with the RCN and influence the issues that really matter to members and the wider profession, which ultimately impacts on the overall patient journey and user experience.
Through our various campaigns we have encouraged health care officials and elected representatives to recognise the importance of nurses, health care assistants and nursing students to outcomes for patients. Being on the board has allowed me to be actively engaged with our politicians, to give expert advice on developing health care policies, present to government committees and raise the profile of nursing by engaging in all of the political party conferences held in Northern Ireland.
This is a challenging role and requires a sound understanding of nursing and health issues, and an ability to listen to and speak up for members. It requires a readiness to take, and be accountable for, decisions, be objective, fair, use discretion and sound, informed judgement. Most of all, this is a rewarding role which enables members to develop their own skills, knowledge and experience at a professional and personal level.
As nurses we are central to enabling health and social care transformation to meet our patient’s needs and the best place to achieve this is at the RCN Board debating table, to be that strong nursing voice, advocating for nurses and nursing, influencing and making a difference to all areas of nursing in Northern Ireland.