I’ve been a member of the RCN for 30 years and was aware of workplace representatives and the forums available to join but must admit that was the limit of my knowledge. Since joining RCN Wales as Associate Director this year, my eyes have been opened to just how many ways there are to get involved in the work of the RCN and to ultimately improve patient care – through campaigning for safe staffing, joining a forum or network or becoming an E-Champion or activist.
The last few months has brought home to me the need to ensure nursing has a loud voice in advocating for both patients and nursing staff. We must articulate to the Welsh government and employers the unique and extremely important role that nurses, students and carers undertake across all services. And we must use our voice to demand fair and appropriate reward for what we do.
You could be a big part of that voice by getting involved and bringing along those around you too. Find out how you can get involved in the work of RCN Wales.
Since my team and I manage the Employment Relations side of things at RCN Wales, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the valuable role of RCN reps. Reps in Wales play an essential part in supporting members and in working in partnership with their organisations to ensure safety for patients and a safe and compassionate working environment for staff.
We really appreciate all the work that our reps do out in practice to support our members. Time and time again we hear positive feedback saying how supported our members feel by their rep and how well their case has been managed.
You can choose what type of rep you would like to become: a learning rep, a safety rep or a steward. We also have student ambassadors who support students through their training and ensure the student voice is heard within their organisations and the RCN.
There are many benefits to becoming a rep including:
- Specialist training to undertake the role
- Support of a network of reps across the UK
- Access to a specialist area on the RCN website with a range of resources
- Continued learning and development
- Invites to Wales and UK-wide conferences
- Mentorship and supervision to support you in the role
Becoming a rep is both personally rewarding and career-enhancing; adding the role of RCN rep to your CV can help with career progression.If she’d like to share your thoughts on becoming an RCN rep, or your experiences of being a rep, please tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email Communications.Wales@rcn.org.uk.