Pat Cullen will remain chief executive of the RCN for a further 12 months, it has been announced, with Ms Cullen outlining her attention to ‘drive forward the fight for improved pay and safe staffing for members everywhere.’
Ms Cullen initially took on the role in an acting capacity in April last year, before taking over on an interim basis in August until the end of 2022. She will remain in the role now until the end of 2023, and will give her first RCN Congress keynote address next month, outlining her plans and the upcoming priorities and challenges for the college.
Ms Cullen has worked at the RCN since 2016 and became director of RCN Northern Ireland in May 2019, where she oversaw industrial action for the first time in the college’s history.
The chief executive and general secretary appointment came after Dame Donna Kinnair stepped down from the role after two years, following a period of ill health.
Ms Cullen has confirmed she will not return to her substantive role as director of RCN Northern Ireland after 2023, so recruitment to this position will begin this month.
She said: ‘After 40 years in RCN membership, it has been the ultimate privilege to lead this organisation and ensure its place as the voice of the nursing profession.
‘With the extra time in the role, I will drive forward the fight for improved pay and safe staffing for members everywhere. Nursing staff are the greatest champions of high-quality patient care, and employers, policy makers and governments across the UK will be left in no doubt of our determination to raise those standards.’
Carol Popplestone, RCN Chair of Council, said: ‘Pat’s commendable leadership over the last year has brought stability to our organisation in difficult times. With the full confidence of RCN Council and the wider membership, she will be able to look to the future and make the right decisions to reform our college and ensure its strength for many years to come.
‘I am delighted she has accepted this extension and I look forward to continuing to work alongside her in the future.’
In April, it was confirmed the former chair of the RCN council, Dave Dawes, was expelled from membership of the college following investigations into complaints about his conduct.