Why go to the RCN Congress?

Sue Hill, RBCS Project Manager and Co-facilitator

What a week! Congress has been amazing, and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights. I was able to attend the whole of the Congress and participate in and listen to the learning and development events, debates and keynote speakers.

Speaker highlights

Pat Cullen, General Secretary spoke and was passionate, articulate and proud of each and every nurse she represents. It was awesome to see her present to Congress.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP was a key note speaker and for once an MP showed understanding of nursing and the issues faced. I wanted to move to Brighton just so she could be my local MP!

Shani Dhanda, a disability inclusion specialist gave a wonderful speech about inclusion. She was funny, informative and inspirational … did you know more clothes are designed for dogs than for people who are disabled. Every item of clothing she buys has to be altered. And in her words ‘it’s not my condition that disabled me – it’s the world’.

Two other wonderful speakers were Professor Carol Baxter and Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, this was a conversation with them about Windrush and looking back and moving forward. I could have listened to them all day they were just a joy!


There were 23 planned debates, and 5 emergency ones added during Congress, on the agenda. Some were matters for discussion and others resolutions. I was lucky enough to be able to attend every debate. There was an eclectic mix with passions running high for some of the topics.

Matters for discussion included:

  • Fair pay for nurses
  • Nursing support workers and availability of courses
  • Windrush and NHS 75
  • LGBTQ and hate crime
  • Private health care

Resolutions included:

  • NHS Pay Review Body
  • Support for female workers
  • Student nurses and condemning the rostering of them to fill gaps
  • Pay, terms and conditions
  • One Royal College, two functions.

More information about all the topics discussed and the results of resolutions can be found on the RCN website.

Overall Congress was a fantastic experience and it was like having a professional refresh! I would urge you to go next year if you can, a day or two will inspire you!

Next year it is 2-6 June in Newport, Wales.

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