Comment

Shaping the future of the RCN's next 100 years

Having been the voice of nursing for 100 years, it is more important than ever that the RCN continues to be heard and have influence, positively impacting care provision, education, management and research.

Having been the voice of nursing for 100 years, it is more important than ever that the RCN continues to be heard and have influence, positively impacting care provision, education, management and research.

Forums include (clockwise from top left) emergency care, defence nursing, public health and diabetes

Picture credit: Neil O’connor/Science Photo Library

To be effective, the college must look forward, embracing the diversity of nursing as the largest profession in healthcare, and providing value-adding expertise. RCN professional forums exist to do just that.

We have evolved new ways of working to ensure we are cultivating from the grass roots the evidence we need to fulfil our stated aims of promoting excellence in practice and shaping health policy.

There are now 36 RCN forums. Each represents an area of interest such as e-health or research, a field of practice such as mental health or midwifery, or a community of practice such as our five children and young people forums. Forums also include diagnostic related groups such as diabetes, or specialities such as emergency, defence, ophthalmic, critical care or public health nursing.

I urge all healthcare assistants, nursing students, nurses and midwives to take advantage of this free benefit of their RCN membership by looking at the online forum list and joining one or more, to help shape the future.

The expertise and clinical capital needed to shape the future lies with our 435,000 members, and RCN forums give them a platform to solve real world problems.

We are making new communication channels available to forum chairs, for timely communication direct with members. We have also increased financial and admin support to ensure that wherever there is conversation that impacts patients, a forum member represents the RCN, speaking up for their specialty or field of practice in the interest of patients.

Real benefits have been realised by this member-led way of working. At June’s RCN congress in Glasgow, forum chairs will present their work.

Forum achievements include a European trauma care award won by the RCN Society of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing for its improvements in neurovascular monitoring.

Meanwhile, the RCN mental health forum, in partnership with the RCN History of Nursing Society, held a mental health exhibition and lecture series helping nurses and the public understand more about the evolution and future of mental health care.

The women’s health forum has raised awareness of the effects of endometrioses on women, ensuring non-experts are aware of the signs and can respond appropriately.

These examples are a small sample of what has been achieved, and do not include the workshops and conferences held by the forums each year, such as a recent refugee health workshop from the defence nursing forum.

We would like to see all RCN members belong to a professional forum because they make a real difference.

Our forums can submit resolutions and matters for discussion at RCN congress and have voting places, so they guide the direction of our work in the RCN Nursing Department.

To join an RCN professional forum or find out more about the appointments process for forum committee members or elections for forum chairs, see the details below.

To find out more call 0345 772 6100 or visit tinyurl.com/RCNforums

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