Last week I was awarded a fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing. It is extremely flattering and fun to be involved with the opening of the RCN’s 2019 Congress in Liverpool with their new president Anne Marie Rafferty.
The RCN is facing some challenges in the wake of what was widely seen as a failure to manage and communicate the government’s pay offer last year. The then General Secretary resigned and some active RCN members campaigned for the organisation’s Council also to stand down. The campaign turned out to be controversial with some suggestions of a left wing ‘infiltration’ of the RCN. So we have the appearance of a confrontation between an ‘old guard’ and ‘modernisers’.
One of the long-standing disappointments is that nursing (in England at least – the other countries of the UK may be different) rarely seems to be able to draw on its huge strength in numbers and wield political power in the field of health service policy or regarding the working conditions of nurses. I would hope for changes that move the RCN in the direction of being able to do this.