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Speaking up for nursing in the week ahead

Pat Cullen 7 May 2021 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Pat Cullen urges members to get involved in important events for the profession next week.

Yesterday, much of the United Kingdom went to the polls. For members in England, Scotland and Wales, I want to thank you for your efforts to engage with your politicians on the issues that matter most to nursing through the campaigns in your countries and regions. The result will impact us all.

We then turn to next week, which will be an important one for our profession and the RCN. All week, we will be marking Mental Health Awareness Week – do please look out for information on how to support your mental health on our website and on social media. But here is a rundown of everything else we have planned.


On Monday, we will launch our new Nursing Workforce Standards. This is the first time we’ve set out detailed expectations for employers, regulators, and national organisations to support patient safety and enable the UK’s nursing workforce to deliver safe and effective care. 

The new Standards are the first written for nurses, by nurses. As an organisation, we’re clear that nursing staff must be the ones who determine what staffing levels are safe, as only they understand the complexity of nursing care provision and the nursing workload. I urge you to look out for the Standards when they are published on our website, and to find out what they mean for you in your workplace. 


On Tuesday, the Westminster Parliament will be holding the State Opening of Parliament. When the UK Government sets out their legislative agenda, we expect an announcement on the Health and Social Care Integration Bill. 

This bill will have implications for nursing staff and it is an important milestone in our campaign for safe staffing. We will be keeping you updated in the coming weeks and months as to how we need you to support our campaign to lobby for the bill to include accountability in legislation - key in tackling the nursing workforce crisis.


On Wednesday, we will be marking Nurses’ Day and will showcase what it means to nurse and how you have led patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We will share your stories on our website and on social media to demonstrate your fundamental role in patient safety. Please do look out for these and share on your social media accounts too. You can download posters to print and to share in your workplace from our website.

And on Wednesday evening, please join our Nurses’ Day event with Professor Christie Watson in conversation with Professor Jane Ball, Tara Bartley OBE and Ruth Oshikanlu MBE. These RCN Fellows will discuss the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for nursing.


Finally, on Friday we will host our AGM – an important event where you can ask questions about the RCN’s annual report and accounts and raise matters of professional interest. 

Join us to hear from your elected Council about the RCN’s work over the past year. And if you can’t attend in person, please do vote ahead of time. Find out more about the AGM and how to vote on our website

I hope you will get involved in the important events taking place next week for nursing. RCN members are a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to working alongside you as we continue to campaign on the issues that matter most to our profession. 

Pat Cullen

Pat Cullen

General Secretary and Chief Executive

Pat has worked at the RCN since 2016. Before being appointed General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat was Director of RCN Northern Ireland from May 2019 to April 2021.

Page last updated - 11/04/2022