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Members pass a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the RCN

The motion called for the current RCN leadership and council to stand down.

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RCN Vote of No Confidence

Royal College of Nursing members have voted to pass a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the union.

During an Extraordinary General Meeting in Birmingham today, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members passed a vote of no confidence following accusations the union “misrepresented” the NHS pay deal to its members in England.

The EGM was called after a petition signed by more than 1,000 RCN members calling for a vote of no confidence was submitted to the council earlier this year.

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The Results

The motion read; “We have no confidence in the current leadership of the RCN and call on council to stand down.”

A total of 15,392 votes were cast. 11,156 voted to support the motion. 3,124 voted to reject the motion. 1,112 abstained.

The resolution passed with a majority of 78.1%. 

A change in leadership.

In July, Janet Davies has announced she would be resigning from her position as Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), effective at the end of August amid the concerns over the NHS pay deal.

An urgent council meeting has now been scheduled for next week and the College is will consider the steps to be taken as the Council enters a period of transition.

Leaders did not ‘fully understand’ the pay deal.

An external review was commissioned following complaints from members that they did not receive the deal that was advertised during the consultation period.

The full 13-page report published yesterday revealed significant failings within the union which led to key decision makers being unable to fully understand the proposed deal despite recommending its acceptance to members.

The report highlighted a significant ‘pro-deal bias’, that alternative options to simply recommending members accepted the pay deal were not adequately explored and the deal was presented in a way many could not understand.

Mistakes will never be repeated.

Maria Trewern, Chair of the RCN Council, said in her opening speech; “I am not here today to make excuses. Leadership for me is about taking responsibility, and that is what I, and we the council, have done.”

“You, the members, are right to hold the College to account for the way it handled the communications around the pay deal in England and how your concerns were dealt with. I really hope by the time we have concluded our debate today we will be able to find some common understanding.”

“When dealing with the pay deal, the organisation did make mistakes and did not listen well enough to the issues raised by members. For this you are owed an apology – and on behalf of the College, I am truely sorry for what happened. 

“Once the extent of the failings became clear. It was your elected Council that moved straight in to take action. It was Council who demanded the independent review that we now have.” 

“let’s look at what that review tells us: the RCN failed to spot mistakes, failed to acknowledge initially that there had been mistakes made in communications, did not recognise the issues raised directly by the members during the consultation, and failed to deal with those genuine concerns adequately.

“This should not have happened – colleagues, you deserve better, and this Council will make sure they are never repeated.”

The college will emerge stronger.

Commenting on the meeting and outcome of the vote, Maria Trewern added: “Today’s honest and open debate in Birmingham has cleared the air and the College will emerge stronger as a result. 

“This vote is clear and the Council and management of the RCN have received the message.  Council has already driven change within the organisation in recent weeks – to listen more closely to members and involve them thoroughly – and this will continue. 

“Following today’s vote, the Council now enters a period of transition.  An urgent Council meeting is convened for next week to plan the way forward and those next steps will be announced.”

Education

One in six nursing associates drop out before qualifying, finds report

Despite this trainees showed “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”.

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Group of nurses in meeting

Only 65% of trainee nursing associates said they planned to work as a nursing associate once qualified.

An independent evaluation of the nursing associate role commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) has found that while there are “high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the programme”, one in six nursing associates are dropping out before completing the course.

Attrition rates for trainee nursing associates fell slightly below that of student nurses, with 18% leaving before completing the course.

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While ill health and personal issues were some of the most common reasons for leaving the programme, nearly a quarter (23%) withdrew because they failed to meet the academic requirements of the programme – with numeracy skills cited as a key issue.

One trainee said they found the “attitudes towards the role and the negative feedback about Nursing Associates” challenging.

Only 65% of trainees said they intend to continue working as a nursing associate once qualified as the programme is often seen as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nursing.

Highlighting challenges.

Mark Radford, Chief Nursing Officer, Health Education England said the report “highlights some challenges that we must address to ensure that students such as ensuring the quality and oversight of placements, attrition and numeracy support.”

“We also recognise that further work and research is required to ensure that the profession is supported and utilised in the workforce of health and social care as part of the MDT. I am pleased to be able to report that we are in the process of identifying candidates to be considered as NA ambassadors across England.

Commenting on the report, Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said; “Having had the pleasure of meeting many nursing associates across the country, I am continually inspired by their enthusiasm and dedication for providing care and they should be very proud of the difference they make for the people they support.”

“I look forward to seeing how nursing associates continue to develop and be supported in their work, long into the future.”

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Education

UCAS accused of having an ‘outdated’ view on nurses

They describe the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured.

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Student Nurse Lecture Theatre

UCAS describes nurses as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has been accused of having an “outdated” view on nurses after it described the profession as providing “support to doctors and other medical staff”.

UCAS describes the nursing role to prospective students as looking after people when they are sick or injured. Adding; “You’ll provide support to doctors and other medical staff, take blood and urine samples, and in some cases, you may carry out minor surgical procedures.”

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Nurses, alongside a multitude of other healthcare professionals, have taken to social media calling for the description to be amended so it “adequately reflects nursing in the 21st century”. They also criticised the article for failing to highlight a large number of health promotion and research roles frequently undertaken by the profession.

BJ Walto, a senior member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) commented that the description is “inaccurate, demeaning and totally misleading portrayal of nursing.”

Tom Wavlin, a Lecturer in Adult Nursing & Admissions Tutor at the University of Plymouth, suggested the description could instead read; “an autonomous practitioner of nursing who works closely with other healthcare professionals”.

In comparison, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) website reads; “Registered nurses play a vital role in providing, leading and coordinating care that is compassionate, evidence-based, and person-centred. They are accountable for their own actions and must be able to work autonomously, or as an equal partner with a range of other professionals, and in interdisciplinary teams.”

A spokesperson for UCAS said; “It’s clear that our current role profile for nurses doesn’t reflect the amazing work that nurses across the country do each day, and we welcome the feedback we’ve recently received.

“We want to make sure that students considering their future options have up-to date information about all different careers available to them.

“We’re currently updating all of our job profiles and are in touch with nursing experts to help us make sure that we better reflect the roles and responsibilities of nurses today.”

UPDATE (17/10/19 09:55): This article was updated to include a comment from UCAS.

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