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RCN Congress 2019: day 3 as it happened

RCN Congress 2019: day 3 as it happened


‘You’ve got permission from Council, you just need to crack on with industrial action. Talking about it isn’t going to get anywhere.’

Mike Travers, RCN member of the Liverpool and Knowsley branch, closes the debate on pay by encouraging Northern Ireland nurses to strike over their lack of a pay deal.

And with that, we bid you farewell for the day. 


We end the day on NHS pay, which we suspect would normally result in lots of people having a lot to say. But given it’s the end of the day, it looks like many are just too fatigued. 


A discussion on resilience has, once again, led to our esteemed Congress chair to reduce speaking slots to one minute due to the length of the speaker queues.

The discussion centers around whether resilience is a positive attribute. It reminds us of an opinion written for us on the subject by Teresa Chinn, who didn’t want people to call her ‘resilient’.


‘Someone has left their hotel key on my table’, says chair BJ Waltho. We’re still not sure if it was a message being sent or if someone has lost it.


Just before everyone heads off to a break, RCN Council chair Sue Warner provides an update on the elections for the Council.

She announces that Council elections will open today, but on the basis that it will be for four-year terms for all elected members, instead of the previous scenario which would have seen some seats open for two-year terms and others for four-year terms.

But to simplify the process, it will now be all members elected to four-year terms regardless of what seat they were filling. These are for posts to be filled on 1 January 2020.


And the resolution wording is:

That this meeting of Congress asks RCN Council to lobby healthcare regulators across the UK to ensure education on the recognition, treatment and care of patients with sepsis is mandatory for all healthcare workers.

It’s passed, meaning this discussion becomes a resolution. 

No sooner has it morphed into a resolution, Congress are again voting in favour.


Congress restarts after lunch with a discussion on sepsis.

It’s another popular one (see 10.00 entry) and so chair BJ Waltho reduces speaking time to one minute.

But about two minutes into the debate, a delegate comes forward to ask if it can be turned into a resolution. Request is agreed, but the debate will continue (as opposed to waiting for the wording of the resolution to appear) as Ms Waltho doesn’t feel turning it into a resolution will change the overall theme of the discussion.


Keynote speakers Tom and Nic Ray have had the room pretty much engrossed for a good hour. A standing ovation followed.

Tom is a sepsis survivor who, unfortunately, had it diagnosed so late that he lost both arms, both legs, and the lower part of his face. A new film is due out based on his story, called Starfish.


It’s OK, the vaccination debate went smoothly. Both sides very well put to Congress.


That bullying resolution was, as you’d expect, passed.

There’s now an emergency matter for discussion on mandatory vaccinations for children before attending school. This could be quite an interesting debate, particularly if there are any anti-vaccination nurses in the room.


There’s a nursing associate on the stage! She’s speaking on the bullying resolution. We make that the first nursing associate to speak at Congress this year (and possibly any year, given that the first cohort only qualified in January 2019).

She asks how many nursing associates are in the hall – two others woop. 


A resolution on bullying is now being discussed, before a vote.

We think it’s probably the most popular one yet, in terms of the number of delegates who want to speak on the issue. The speaker queues are so long that Congress chair BJ Waltho has cut the speaking time down to one minute to allow as many people as possible the chance to air their views.


Emergency resolutions to start the morning. The following were added to the agenda are being passed by the voting members:

E19: That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses the climate emergency and how we can achieve a low carbon economy in healthcare

E29: That Congress calls upon the RCN Council to lobby Government organisations across the UK to take urgent action that safeguards the human rights of people with learning disabilities.

The first of those wasn’t a clear cut vote in favour, it has to be said.


Day 3 in the main hall is here. Apparently there was a student event yesterday evening that went on long into the night. It might explain why the non-voting audience seems a bit thinner for this morning.


We are up early at the career pathways fringe session led by Danielle Fullwood, Heath Education England (HEE) senior nurse for professional development, and Gill Coverdale, RCN professional lead for education.

They are launching a UK-wide career pathway resource jointly developed by the RCN and HEE that will, in time, support all bands and levels of nursing staff. Areas covered by the resource include moving on in a clinical role, changing clinical setting (for example, from hospital to general practice), changing nursing fields, education, research, leadership and return to work.

At the end of the session, 100% of the audience of 21 said they would recommend the resource to someone else.

You can find the website for the resource here, which is now live and open to feedback. It will be kept up-to-date with national standards and guidelines.

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The latest from day 3 of RCN Congress