The RCN has crucial roles to play in support of nursing

Ainna Fawcett-Henesy, international consultant in Nursing and Health, on why the RCN has to do everything possible to achieve sufficient numbers of staff

The RCN must do everything possible to achieve sufficient numbers of staff, paid at a sufficient rate, while maintaining the status of the profession in a rapidly changing health service. At a time of stringency this is hard.

The other major role, sometimes overshadowed, is the professional, intellectual and academic development of nursing.

There are parallels in other organisations where the talent is on the shop floor, for example in the BBC and the medical profession. Doctors, for example, have often divided the two roles, with the British Medical Association taking the lead in negotiations on pay, while the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons have scanned the future, and examined and argued for the best way to handle, for example, severe trauma, the development of the sub-speciality of emergency medicine and the move to the seven-day hospital.

The Royal College of General Practitioners initially pioneered the