2016 is a very special year for the Royal College of Nursing – it’s our centenary.
One hundred years ago, a small group of very special, very formidable women founded what’s gone on to be the largest professional nursing union in the world.
In the days before women had the vote, they managed to lobby Parliament and secure professional registration for nurses within three short years of the start of the Royal College of Nursing.
It’s impossible to separate the history of the RCN from the history of nursing, from the women’s suffrage movement or from the progress professional women have made in the last century. It’s a remarkable story that should inspire each and every one of us – women and men, students and seasoned practitioners alike.
”I am often overwhelmed with both pride and amazement at the complexity and demands of their jobs”
Since becoming RCN president a year ago, I have met many thousands of nurses and I am often overwhelmed with both pride and amazement at the complexity and demands of their jobs and the dedication and commitment they show.
They truly are the legacy of the forward-thinking women who started the RCN and our centenary is a wonderful opportunity not just to showcase the history of the RCN and the history and achievements of the nursing profession but to celebrate the wonderful work that goes on up and down the country every day right now.
We’ll be holding 100 special centenary events this year, culminating in an international conference in November. The Commonwealth Nurses’ Federation will be joining our celebrations in March and as we build up to Nurses’ day in May and RCN Congress in June (where we will discuss the way forward for the years to come, with the sole aim of making a difference to our patients), I hope to see all our members using the centenary as a well-deserved excuse to pat themselves on the back.
”I hope to see all our members using the centenary as a well-deserved excuse to pat themselves on the back”
One hundred members will receive free membership for a year. There will be parties and bunting, cakes and conferences, books, cards and badges galore. Thanks to the RCN Foundation there will be bursaries to help nurses spread their innovative nursing “secrets” and a new education resource for schools.
One other way that we will be celebrating modern nursing is through a photography competition – open now – in which entrants are being asked to point their cameras at nursing as it happens in every setting. I hope it will open people’s eyes to the varied roles nurses play – in the community, in industry, on wards and in theatre, in our inner cities and rural communities.
The winning photos will form a touring exhibition which will give a wide range of people the opportunity to see first-hand just how complex, challenging and yet ultimately rewarding nursing is.
”If you haven’t been to RCN HQ, this is the year to make the trip”
Every RCN region and country office will be staging special events for members and reaching out to the public to join the celebrations. If you haven’t been to RCN HQ, this is the year to make the trip and see the new exhibition in the Library and Heritage Centre. If you haven’t been to an RCN conference, there will be a centenary one near you.
There are many ways of joining in the celebrations so please do follow us on social media, join in the fun and promote your profession with pride.
Cecilia Anim is president of the Royal College of Nursing