The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has launched a consultation with its members over changes to its membership categories.
The consultation opened during RCN Congress 2019, and will run until the end of July.
This first stage involves collating thoughts and ideas from all members on the current membership categories.
These views will then be used by RCN Council to ‘build a vision of what the future membership of the RCN should be’. Council will then propose changes to the current membership categories and subscription plans.
The RCN have given a number of possible solutions to the current categories and subscriptions, including:
- A single category of membership
- Introducing subscription plans relating to a members’ income
- Introducing affiliate membership for members of the team who do not report directly to a nurse
- Removing the link between subscription plans and election to governance roles – only full members of the RCN can stand for governance positions
As it stands, the RCN has three categories of membership – nurse member, health practitioner member (for healthcare workers operating under the supervision of a nurse), and student member.
Within these three categories are various subscription options. For example, a nurse member can be a full member of the RCN, paying £196.65 per year, or they could be a retired nurse member paying £10 per year.
Plans to change the categories come as a result of numerous anomalies and issues encountered by the current system, which has produced instances where nursing associates in training fall under the health practitioner category and pay £98 per year, while nurse apprentices are considered student members and pay just £10 per year.
During a session at RCN Congress, ideas were discussed surrounding the issue of retired members being required to pay the full subscription fee of £196.65 in order to stand for senior positions. Discussions also touched on whether to open up the healthcare practitioner membership to other non-nurse workers.
Geoff Earl, RCN Council member for Scotland, said during the session: ‘We’re not looking to pre-empt your feedback at this point. The list of solutions are just ideas, and we welcome any others you have.’
RCN members can give their feedback using an online form.