Working together to advocate for nursing

Pat Cullen 25 Jun 2021 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Pat Cullen, Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive, encourages RCN members to get involved to shape the future of nursing.

This week we marked the fourth annual Windrush Day - honouring the contribution of men and women from the Caribbean who arrived at Tilbury Docks 73 years ago on the SS Empire Windrush and joined our health and care services, building them into the services we have today. The RCN’s work to challenge racism in nursing is central to our role in honouring the Windrush generation. I was so privileged to join our event and to be in the company of our guest speakers which included a fellow nurse and outstanding poet, Piers Harrison-Reid and the formidable Beverley Baker. 
 
Yesterday evening I spoke at an event where we were discussing the future of nursing and midwifery and how we need to shape nursing leadership now and into the future. Our profession has gone through a rapid period of change throughout the last 20 years. It is now rightly a degree profession; the role of the registered nurse has evolved and as we work to the top of our registration, we continue to shape and define advanced practice; and nursing staff also play a leading role in research and academia, shaping our profession in all areas of policy. 
 
But what remains constant is our connection to our patients: acting as their advocate; providing high-quality clinical care; and putting patients care at the heart of what we do, in the vast array of roles undertaken by nursing staff.  The RCN is evolving too - to make sure we can support our members in all roles and all settings, whenever and wherever you need us. 
 
The work of nursing staff during the pandemic has shone a spotlight on our profession and our skilled, safety-critical role in health care has been clear for all to see. But our value is still not recognised with fair pay. We continue to wait for the UK Government announcement on the NHS pay award for nursing staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our members in Scotland recently chose to reject the Scottish Government pay offer and this week we have formally lodged a trade dispute with the Scottish Government. We will continue to keep you updated in the coming weeks - please make sure your details are up to date in MyRCN, including your workplace and employer details, so we can contact you.
 
Fair pay, terms and conditions are key to keeping nursing staff in the profession and encouraging new people to join. But to tackle the nursing workforce crisis, we also need legal accountability in Government for both assessing workforce demand in health and care services to meet the needs of the population, and fully funded workforce planning, in every country in the UK. In England, we expect the Health and Social Care Integration bill to be published in the next couple of weeks and we are working hard to ensure these duties for the Secretary of State for Health and Care are in the legislation.
 
As we discussed at the event last night, nursing staff must see themselves as advocates of change and we must lead and demand that change together. I urge you to keep informed about our Fair Pay For Nursing and Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaigns to get involved and shape the future of our profession. 

 

 

Read more 

RCN Scotland members lodge trade dispute with Scottish government 

Transforming to meet the future of nursing 

 
Pat Cullen

Pat Cullen

General Secretary and Chief Executive

Pat has worked at the RCN since 2016 and has been in post as Director of RCN Northern Ireland since May 2019. Pat is currently General Secretary and Chief Executive.

Page last updated - 25/06/2021