Awards and impassioned speech kick off RCN congress 2017
Nurses should not be reduced to using foodbanks, said Cecilia Anim in an impassioned speech at the opening of RCN Congress 2017 in Liverpool
RCN president Ms Anim spoke before the RCN and RCN Foundation awards presentation, during the opening evening of the event that runs to Wednesday 17 May.
She called on students to feel 'inspired and valued' by the end of congress and to understand senior colleagues were there to support them.
With support a key theme in her speech, Ms Anim asked members to look out for each other and to recognise the RCN was a safety net that is always there for them.
Ms Anim spoke of a member writing to her this year to tell her she was having to rely on food parcels to support her family.
Sadness and anger
'She is struggling to survive. She cannot afford her weekly food bill, so she relies on food parcels. I felt so sad reading her letter. But then sadness turned to anger.
'This is not how nurses should be treated it has to stop and it has to stop now,' she said to a round of applause.
Ms Anim called on members to get more involved in the RCN, promising to 'champion nursing' herself.
She ended by praising the work of independent charity the RCN Foundation, for paying for two young people in Bangladesh to study to become nurses.
RCN general secretary Janet Davies, who is set to give a keynote speech on Sunday, then presented RCN Awards for representatives of the year, awards of merit and RCN fellowships.
Making voice heard
Among the award winners was president of the All Pakistan Nurses Association UK and regular Nursing Standard contributor Zeba Arif.
She was presented an award of merit for more than 30 years of being 'an outstanding RCN member' who is 'never afraid to make her voice heard on controversial issues'.
Despite retiring from nursing in 2011, Ms Arif continues to be active in the college, advocating for the role of retired RCN members.
RCN Foundation chair Robert Sowney then presented the charity's impact awards.
Representatives of the Year
- Nicki Parry
- Richard Gardner
- Alistair Grant
- Ellie Jolley
Award of Merit
- Zeba Arif
- Jason Warriner
- Felicia Cox
- Tina Donnelly
- Debby Holloway
- Ruth Oshikanlu
- Ian Peate
- Robert Sawney
- Sue Woodward
RCN Foundation impact awards
- Hazel Abbott
- Nabeel Durgahee
- Luke Harris
- Moya Kirmond
- Mandy Spaul
Morag McEwan Bell memorial award
- Sandra Campbell