Political influencing – we can do it!

 Nicky Hughes 17 Sep 2020

I never really understood politics...

To be honest, throughout my career I found it easier to go with the flow and keep quiet, as I felt I didn’t know enough to say anything. What my new role in RCN Wales has shown me is that it is so important to have political influence; you can really make a difference, whatever level you are working at!

Nursing professionals are widely respected, well-trained and educated individuals. We are natural born leaders. Every day we analyse problems and find solutions – we just need to use that logic to ensure our voice is heard at the highest level.

Nurses have always been in a unique position to champion and advocate for the best care for patients and to be a driving force to improve the nation's health and well-being. We must use our passion to lobby governments around issues such as high-quality patient-centred care, safe staffing levels, the value of the nursing and what makes us want to stay in the nursing profession. We can help inform politicians when they are developing healthcare policy. Our voice is very powerful, and politicians and policy makers rely on our influence so they can make the right decisions about healthcare for all.

This evening, as part of #RCN2020, the RCN will host a debate session regarding how politics is embedded in nursing. The debate recording will be available for RCN members to watch again after the event.

Find out more about how you can get involved in ensuring politics is embedded into nursing or book a place for Should the RCN take steps to ensure RCN members recognise that politics is embedded in every aspect of nursing policy and practice?

Joining the RCN’s Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is another great way to get involved in political influencing. Our campaign webpage has lots of tips about how best to get your voice heard and I’d love for you to make a video explaining why nursing staff deserve fair pay and upload it to social media. Find out how to make a short video for social media.

Other things that you can do to influence the Welsh Government include:

• Ahead of the upcoming Welsh Government elections, take a few minutes to complete our survey to tell politicians what we want for nursing.

Follow your local Member of the Senedd (MS) on social media and post on the issues that you are passionate about. You could share what duties you’ve undertaken as part of your nursing role today.

Write to Members of the Senedd /MPs/local councillors to share “a day in the life” and invite them to meet with you.

Talk with your peers and colleagues about RCN Campaigns.

Become an e-campaigner to help create a movement to get as many nursing voices heard as you can.

The time for clapping is over. The Welsh Government needs to sit up and take notice of nursing staff before it’s too late.

I’d be interested to hear your experiences of political lobbying and influencing. Please tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email CommunicationsWales@rcn.org.uk. As always, take care of yourselves during this troubling time.

Fair Pay for Nursing

Nicky Hughes

Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations) RCN Wales

Nicky has 30 years experience of working in the NHS in the specialities of inpatient acute medicine and the community setting, where she managed frontline services such as District Nursing, Prison Nursing, and those caring for the homeless and asylum seekers. In addition she commissioned care from the nursing home sector.

Page last updated - 17/09/2020