Speaking up at congress

I am attending RCN congress for the first time as a voting member for my branch. Staff at my trust have provided me with some comments on the resolutions and matters for discussion, which I would like to share during the congress debates. Do you have any tips on speaking?

It is great that staff at your trust want to engage in the wider debates about nursing and health care, and you are fortunate to have the opportunity of representing your branch at this year’s RCN congress.

As an RCN steward, you will already be used to speaking at your staff side and branch meetings, so just imagine congress as an extension of these sessions. If you have time, check out the congress archives on the RCN website to watch how the debates proceed. It is crucial to be succinct during congress debates, so it may be a good idea to write down your contributions, and then time yourself speaking as practice before the event. It is also important to be factual, so if you are expressing an opinion, make sure to state this clearly. Confine yourself to speaking on nursing issues, and refrain from being critical about your trust.

Once your name has been called and you are on the stage, remember you are among friends. Whether they are in the auditorium or watching online, they are interested in your views, and those of the members you are representing, so relax.

RCN congress is a lively and vibrant event, excellent for networking and sharing ideas and best practice with other nurses, some of whom will be attending for the first time, just like you. By speaking during the debates, you may well inspire them to come forward and share their thoughts too.

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