The Importance of the Nursing Voice

 Nicky Hughes 24 Aug 2020

Nicky Hughes, Associate Director of Nursing (Employment Relations) shares some of her thoughts about how you can get your voice heard.

So, I have returned from leave with a big bang! It’s been a busy but exciting week with our first ‘Question and answer’ session specifically for our members in Wales. I hope some of you managed to listen in – but if not you can catch up here

Also information regarding pay can be found here.

It is really important that we have a strong nursing voice in Wales and across the UK from all specialities and sectors – that is not just about pay but about other issues that we are all passionate about such as safe staffing, recruitment and retention of nurses and safe working environments. 
COVID-19 has highlighted the stark fact that we just don’t have enough nurses at all levels and our recent survey showed that a third of nurses are considering leaving the profession partly because of pay but also because of working conditions. Pay however, would be one element in making the profession more attractive and would help in retaining those staff we already have. 
We have to keep the pressure on with campaigning around the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016. RCN Wales were instrumental in calling for this to be implemented and Wales was the first country to pass the act and make this law. We have to give a clear message to Welsh Government that the implementation remains high on the agenda even during COVID-19 not only for the areas that the law covers, but also that the extension to other areas such as children’s nursing, mental health, community and care homes is essential. More information on this, here

There are many ways in which you can get involved to get some of these messages out regarding safe staffing and pay. Most simply it is about talking with your peers, your family and friends about what it is like being a nurse and what a typical day brings. You could also talk with your local Councillor or Assembly Member.
If you would like to get more involved you could consider the roles below

E-campaigners: People who want to support a campaign but do not have much time to give. These people are usually sent an email at different points throughout a campaign which asks them to take an online action. These actions might include sharing something on social media, signing an online petition or writing to their MS or MP. 

Volunteer campaigners: People who are interested in grass-root campaigning and have more time to give. They are usually communicated with on a more regular basis and are asked to take part in activities which require more time, for example meeting with their MP or encouraging their networks to sign a petition. These volunteer campaigners usually build relationships with their MP by writing and meeting with them regularly and are often key to helping win campaigns. This type of role is more time intensive for both the volunteer and support staff. It’s important these volunteers feel supported and therefore require regular communications, materials to help them campaign with, and reward and recognition incentives – it’s important they know they feel valued.

Now more than ever we need our members to be shouting from the rooftops about things that we are all passionate about. We are in this together.

I would be interested to hear your experiences of talking to others and their views particularly if you undertake one of the roles above Please tweet me – @nichughes1 – or email Communications.Wales@rcn.org.uk.  
Have a great week and look after yourselves!

 

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 - 25/08/2020