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Help us carry on speaking up for nurses - Karen Webb, Eastern Region Director

1 Mar 2016

Reaching the grand old age of 100 is no mean feat, writes Karen Webb, Eastern Region Director. When centenarians are interviewed by their local TV news they often say the secret to hitting this milestone is a daily glass of sherry or a regular brisk walk around the park.

For the Royal College of Nursing, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on 27 March, the secret of its longevity has to be found in its biggest strength – its members.

What began with just 34 members quickly rose to over 2,500 within a year of launch. Now we are honoured to represent over 435,000 registered nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and nursing students – more than 37,000 of them in the Eastern region.

Together you are helping us make sure the voices of nursing staff are heard at all levels, whether that is raising concerns at a local level about things happening in your own workplaces or nationally through our campaigning activity such as the strong response to plans to axe bursaries for student nurses.

Pay is another area where the RCN works to ensure the opinions of our members are heard at the highest levels, striving to achieve fair reward for the complex and demanding jobs that you do.

We are currently waiting to hear what the Government plans next for the pay of nurses and others working in the public sector. We understand the Chancellor will be making an announcement on public sector pay in the forthcoming budget and the RCN will then set about delivering our response.

It is important that if any of you, as RCN members, want to give your own feedback that you contact our regional office oneastern.region@rcn.org.uk. We are keen to know what you are prepared to do and the messages you want to get across as we take forward our campaigning activity on pay. We want your voices to be heard by RCN Council when they meet to agree the next steps in this campaign.

I hope you will be able to participate in our many centenary celebrations taking place throughout the year, whether that is through your branch centenary conferences, discussing nursing past and present on social media or even winning a free RCN membership.

We will use this centenary to celebrate how far nursing has come in the last 100 years and the role the RCN has played in this. But we will also use it to inform our present and future impact as we continue to drive nursing forward into the next century. I hope you will join us on this journey and continue to give us strength.