Thanks for stopping by. Here is another blog post by unpaid carer Matthew Mckenzie. This blog post is about involvement, but I have added to this post my involvement with another organisation the Royal College of Nursing. Usually I spend most my time at carer or community centres running family and carer strategy forums. We aim to engage with hospital trusts, healthwatch, health commissioners and councils. Most forums look to increase education and engagement on mental health and the health services.
Still, education is not enough and there should be involvement and empowerment for services users and carers. Anyway, I would like to put a bit of background into the RCN otherwise known as Royal college of Nursing. I have been hinting about nursing and the Royal college of Nursing from my previous blog posts, although there are many other organisations I will post about soon.
The RCN represents nurses and nursing, promotes excellence in practice and shapes health policies. It is the biggest and well known union for nursing in the UK. They do not just represent nurses, but also midwives, Mental Health nurses, health care assistants, assistant practitioners, student nurses and trainee nursing associates.
They have around half a million members and are growing in number every day. The RCN also have a vast history in the field of nursing and have made major impacts in advocating for the field of nursing in the UK. The RCN also runs forums, consultations, conferences and allows members to get involved or even become an RCN Rep.
It has not been an easy time for nurses or the NHS at present, I am not going to get too political today, but never has there been a greater need for the RCN to vouch for nursing as pressure is brought to bear on nurses via lack of funds, bursaries and incentives to stay in the industry.
The RCN now wishes to expand its involvement and has been honest that in its prestigious history, it has lacked the drive to engage with its mental health patients, however many a large organisation can fall into this situation, although some are worse than others.
I have noticed that the RCN looks to take on engagement and involvement policies regarding its mental health programme, but to do this it must feed into its patient forum and also draw from Triangle of Care representatives. Of course no one is going to say such a drive is not without its challenges, but the sooner work begins on involvement, then the better the outcome.
Early this august I was invited to the first of many reference groups to collectively figure out inclusion and co-production within the RCN. I was joined by many patients and carers like myself. I did hear that reps from a mental health forum could not make it, but hope they are free next time.
The group was chaired and facilitated by both Catherine Gamble and Tim Coupland. Catherine is a RCN Mental health lead & Head of Nursing. She is also proactive in eduction practice & research at South West London and ST Georges NHS Trust. Tim Coupland is the RCN Programme Lead for Parity of Esteem and promotes many policies on mental wellness for all including nurses themselves.
I will not go into too much detail on how the group went, but I felt I was very looked after at the group and I felt everyone got their chance to have their say. We had many passionate and rich experiences from the members of the group, everyone truly deserved their place there. I was amazed that some members have had an impact promoting nursing and service user experience in other countries.
We each also asked what our involvement and interests lie, where mine was on the NHS Long term plan, mental health act and Suicide prevention due to my involvement at South London and Maudsley Suicide prevention group. I was excited to hear that the RCN have representatives engaging in the areas I have raised.
There is however a lot I can say regarding involvement, inclusion, engagement, co-design and co-production, but I think I will leave that to another blog post. There is much out there that carers like myself can get involved with. We never have enough carers getting involved at an exciting and challenging time in the health services.
You can find out more about the Royal College of Nursing from the link below
My summing up of the day is that there is a lot of work to do, but I feel that the RCN as a body is massive and offers many opportunities even if it is just to understand its core principles and the future of nursing.