Why nursing staff must organise for change

Dame Donna Kinnair 15 Apr 2021 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Dame Donna Kinnair explains to members what the RCN is calling for as services start to return to ‘normal’ and encourages members to engage on the issues that matter most to nursing staff. 

This week, we have seen restrictions start to ease in England as part of the UK government’s COVID-19 roadmap. There has been much discussion about returning to some level of normality and the path out of the restrictions we have been living and working with since the start of the pandemic. 

This week, the latest NHS England waiting times were published and the data shows the scale of the challenge the NHS will face in returning services to normal. Employers and the UK government must be honest about the real pressures on the NHS and properly invest in the workforce that is needed for the long-term delivery of safe patient care. I have been clear in my expectations to government and employers in what we expect when planning services following the pandemic. While any return to normal services will still be some way off, it is key that you are properly supported and involved in decisions about the shape of care and service delivery. 

It is important that as nursing staff, we use our voice to speak for our profession and advocate for our patients. We must speak truth to power and speak up if we are concerned or see ways to change how things are done. The RCN will always support you to raise concerns and we are always here if you need help too

Nursing is political and I see it as a key role for the RCN to develop you as leaders and support you to advocate for change. Our collective power is greater than the sum of our parts. Together, we can make a real impact on the issues that matter most – improving professional standards, fighting for fair pay, campaigning for safe staffing levels, negotiating employment rights, ensuring workplace safety and more. 

I want to encourage every single member to join us on this journey and be part of the change we want to see for our profession. Find out more about our new training course to help lead our profession.

Another important way to shape our profession is to get involved in the current NMC consultation on post-registration standards. The RCN and our members have played a key role in the development of these standards – through our role on the NMC’s steering group and expert group. 

We have challenged during the review, including when the NMC sought to review the annotations and when they suggested consulting during the pandemic. Significantly, we heard from our SPQ members that bespoke education and practice standards are a necessity if you are to practice safely and competently in your respective fields. 

Please join our planned webinars and feed into our consultation response to share your views on the future education and practice standards for these vital community roles.

As nursing staff, we are used to advocating for our patients – but we need to take this one step further and advocate for our profession. We are stronger when we act together and we can create real change for our profession, our workplaces and our patients. You are leaders – join us and lead our profession into the future. 

Find out more

Read our eight recovery and patient safety principles
Organising for change
NMC consultation on post-registration standards 

Dame Donna Kinnair

Dame Donna Kinnair

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Prior to her appointment as Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dame Donna was Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice and worked with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Before joining the RCN, Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.
Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Page last updated - 13/09/2021