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London nurse leaders celebrate RCN Centenary at City Hall

The reception marks the College's one hundredth year

28 Nov 2016

London’s nurse leaders gather at City Hall today, Monday 28 November, in a special event to mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The event will be attended by nursing staff working in all areas of London and is hosted by Jennette Arnold, a former nurse who is now London Assembly Member for North East London.   

The event will involve a special commemoration of some of RCN London’s longest serving members. A presentation will be made to Sheila Franks, a nurse living in West London who first joined the RCN in 1946.   

Speakers include Baroness Floella Benjamin, RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies, and RCN President and London member Cecilia Anim, who was this month re-elected for a second term.

Founded during the first world war as a women’s group, the RCN was the first organisation to secure professional status for nursing.   

It fought hard to give women workers the rights they deserved and the organisation soon became a pioneer of training and education.   

Today the RCN has members working at all levels and in all specialities of nursing and the College’s London membership this year passed 59,000 for the first time.    

This rich history will be marked at City Hall with an exhibition of nursing history hosted by the RCN Library and Archive Service.   

Baroness Floella Benjamin said: “Since 1916 the role of nursing has evolved and developed and nurses are now central to all types of health care. The RCN has been at the heart that evolution.   

“We must cherish and celebrate the nursing community who do so much to care for London’s patients in every imaginable setting all across the city and beyond.  

“I am so happy to be able to join the RCN London members at City Hall to remember the past hundred years of nursing and look forward to the next hundred.”   

Jennette Arnold OBE AM said: “It is an honour to host this special evening to mark the RCN’s centenary year. As a former nurse, I truly understand the value of the support, training and education offered by this fantastic organisation.  

“Not only does the RCN have a proud history of advocating women health workers’ rights, it continues to provide a strong voice today for all nurses. There are battles ahead, not least with proposals to scrap bursaries and the uncertainty that Brexit brings for our capacity to address nursing shortages. But I have no doubt that the RCN will continue to be the loudest advocate for our most valuable profession and the patients we treat.”   

RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue said: “RCN London are proud to be hosting an event today which not only reflects the vibrant diversity of nursing in the city in 2016 but also our rich and varied history. London nurses are drawn from all communities at home and abroad and, though the profession today faces many challenges, it remains an engaging and rewarding career. I want to offer my thanks, on behalf of the RCN, to all the nursing staff working day in day out, all year round, to provide the best possible care to London’s patients.”