“Representatives play a vital part in the activity of the RCN,” says Senior RCN Officer Greg Canning. “They are remarkable people who more than earn the respect they receive for their roles supporting members.”
What’s in it for RCN representatives?
“Volunteering as a Royal College of Nursing representative doesn’t just benefit your colleagues and your employer,” explains Greg. “It can have major advantages for your own development, too.”
In these days of pressured budgets, nursing workforce shortages and below-inflation salaries, you could be forgiven for thinking that taking on an extra role over and above your substantive contract is purely for angelic, superhuman philanthropists.
In fact becoming an RCN representative can be the perfect way to boost your career, nurturing skills, experience and relationships which can help you get on in the workplace.
Research has shown that representatives benefit from individual mentoring, increased confidence, self-awareness, creativity, enhanced communication abilities, enhanced networking and relationship-building opportunities, better ability to have difficult conversations, better workload management ability, better team-building ability, and enhanced professional knowledge.
Altruism is certainly a major motivating force behind what union representatives do. They lend their support and expertise to nursing staff encountering all sorts of challenges and often that backup provides others with the strength and knowledge they need to face their issues head-on.
However, the relationship is not a one-way street. Representatives benefit from paid time off to fulfill their union role, learning and development programme offering strings to their bow in a range of topics from questioning and influencing to self-care, from being inclusive to legal rights.