Since COVID-19 changed our lives forever, nursing staff have been on the frontline of the pandemic. Nursing staff across the UK have led the response to the pandemic - delivering care directly to COVID-19 positive patients and continuing to provide services across the health and care system.
The world has seen the vital contribution of nursing to patient care demonstrated day in, day out. Our professionalism has been clear for all to see and the safety critical role we play in caring for our patients.
I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks, and thanks on behalf of the whole of RCN Council and your elected members in boards and branches, to all our colleagues who stepped forward to work during this pandemic. Whether you returned to the workforce and joined the temporary NMC register, or stepped into a role during your nursing studies, we want to make clear how much we appreciate your contribution.
And I want to say thank you to all nursing staff who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, pulling together as a team and working above and beyond. You have been working under relentless pressure during this pandemic and it may have taken its toll on your physical and mental health too.
Those of you who returned to practice and students who entered the workforce early, have been an incredible support for your nursing colleagues. But the pandemic has made it clear that things need to change for nursing and the RCN will not stop applying pressure on UK governments to properly recognise our profession and invest in the NHS and wider heath care system.
Nursing students need to be encouraged into the profession and governments need to properly value existing staff by ensuring adequate staffing levels, and pay and terms and conditions which properly reflect your knowledge and skill.
Regardless of where you work – and we work across all sectors and types of workplace – the one thing that unites us is that all nursing staff are highly skilled professionals.
The country owes you a huge debt for the lives you have saved, the care and comfort you have given families and the huge personal sacrifices that you have made. That debt can never be fully repaid but your Council will work hard on your behalf to ensure that this debt is never forgotten.