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Is it time for the RCN to rejoin the ICN?

A debate has started over whether the RCN should rejoin a global federation of nurses.
RCN rejoin ICN

A debate has started over whether the RCN should rejoin a global federation of nurses.

It is being driven by a social media campaign asking nurses to consider if the college should again be part of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

The RCN left the ICN in 2014 due to the 500,000 annual cost of membership, which is based on the number of registered nurses in a union.

Twitter

The social media campaign is being led by a group called We Are Global Nurses . It was set up after a comment on Twitter about rejoining the ICN gathered interest.

It must be time for @theRCN to consider re-joining @ICNurses

A debate has started over whether the RCN should rejoin a global federation of nurses.

A social media campaign asks nurses to consider whether the RCN should
be part of the International Council of Nurses. Picture: Twitter/ICN

It is being driven by a social media campaign asking nurses to consider if the college should again be part of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

The RCN left the ICN in 2014 due to the £500,000 annual cost of membership, which is based on the number of registered nurses in a union.

Twitter

The social media campaign is being led by a group called We Are Global Nurses. It was set up after a comment on Twitter about rejoining the ICN gathered interest.

Founding member Jeni Watts, a health visitor and RCN activist who sent the initial tweet, said more than 50 ‘influencers’ – college activists – have agreed to support the campaign since it started two weeks ago.

‘A large majority of people feel that we would stronger as a global voice [by rejoining the ICN]. We would be stronger if we joined together with other nursing organisations, but also stronger politically,’ she said.

Impressive response

Ms Watts said she was impressed by the strong and timely response by the ICN to the arrest of a nurse in Utah, US. The nurse had refused to let a police officer’s request that she take a blood sample from a patient without a warrant.

Ms Watts, who set up the group with assistant chief nurse and RCNi editorial advisory board member Paul Jebb, said there were a number of issues shared by nurses across the globe such as fighting for better pay and conditions.

The campaign’s aim is to hear all views about rejoining the ICN and get the issue debated through the RCN’s democratic structures of local branches and national committees, and ultimately to see it discussed at next year’s congress.

Earlier this year, ICN chief executive Frances Hughes, who has since resigned due ‘unforeseen circumstances’, said the ‘door is very much open’ for the RCN to rejoin the federation.

Lengthy discussions

Responding to the campaign, a RCN spokesperson said: ‘After lengthy discussions between the RCN and ICN on the cost of membership and reform of the organisation, RCN members voted to leave in 2013. However, the RCN continues to play a leading role in the international nursing community.

‘This includes regular contact with the ICN – working with them and others on a new global Nursing Now! campaign.

‘The RCN has not closed the door on rejoining the ICN after a period of reform, but there are no current plans to do so.’


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