BJ Waltho been elected unopposed as the new chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress.
She takes over the post immediately and will chair congress for the next two years. She was elected to the role on Friday, succeeding out-going chair Stuart McKenzie.
“I am honoured to be taking on this important role”
Ms Waltho is the associated director of operations at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and has more than 40 years experience as a nurse.
She was previously vice chair of congress. That position is currently being contested by three candidates, with Linda Bailey, Michael Brown and Maureen Dolan standing for election.
Chairs of RCN branches, forums and representative committees will vote by post from 1 August to 22 August.
Commenting on her election, Ms Waltho said: “I am honoured to be taking on this important role and working with the agenda committee ensuring that members’ voices are heard and congress reflects current issues in nursing.
“I always leave congress feeling inspired and reinvigorated and I hope to share that passion with our members so that they get the most out of all that congress has to offer,” she said.
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “I’m delighted that BJ is the new chair of RCN congress. She brings with her a wealth of nursing knowledge and experience.
“Her time as vice chair has instilled her with important insights into how congress works and how we can encourage members to attend and get involved,” she said.
“I also want to pay tribute to Stuart McKenzie who has been a fantastic chair and has worked hard to modernise congress,” said Ms Davies.
She added: “The role of chair is a high profile and pivotal role and BJ, will bring passion and vision to that role.”