Learning is key to safe staffing success

 Professor Anne Marie Rafferty CBE 14 Feb 2019 Safe staffing Prof Anne Marie Rafferty

RCN President Anne Marie Rafferty explains the crucial role of activists in shaping legislation in all parts of the UK.

Nursing staff at work

There’s been a shift in attitudes towards nurse staffing levels in recent years. Regulators have recognised the need for guidance to help providers meet their duty to deliver safe patient care. The logical next step is to give that guidance teeth with laws that set out clear accountability and consequences for when standards fall short.

The RCN is building its campaign for safe nurse staffing legislation in all parts of the UK. Though each country is on a different journey, our work is underpinned by five principles. These outline the need for an adequate supply of nursing staff, with enough students coming through the system, and development of the existing workforce.

They state that there should be a clear workforce strategy that can be translated into national, regional and local plans so we have the right number of nursing staff with the right skills in the right place at the right time. Importantly, they demand responsibility and accountability for ensuring there are enough nursing staff to meet the changing needs of the population.

Learning will be key to our success and it’s absolutely crucial that we capture our collective experiences to review, refine and develop our work. As activists, your role is critical in providing the intelligence on the ground to inform and guide our campaigning efforts. Achieving change is no small task, but together, we have the power to be a force for good.

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty CBE

RCN President


Anne Marie is Professor of Nursing Policy at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King’s College London. 
Professor Rafferty has been involved in the RCN since she was a student in 1977. She has previously acted as an RCN representative on the Health Quality Improvement Partnership and currently acts as a member of the Safe Staffing Expert Reference Group. She was named one of the 70 most influential nurses in 70 years of the NHS.

Page last updated - 04/08/2019