Blogs: NMC Council members talk about what it’s like being on the Council
If you’re thinking of applying to be Scotland’s next registrant member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but wondering ‘could I do that?’, my advice to you is not to hesitate. My three years on Council have been hugely rewarding. As a senior career nurse, I have been privileged to contribute to the creation and oversight of an imaginative, far-sighted strategy for those we regulate, with public safety at its core.
There are a dozen of us, registrant and non-registrant, on Council. We enjoy working together, along with a hugely talented executive team, in an atmosphere which, while collegiate and respectful of diversity and difference, is also extremely stimulating – with plenty of genuine debate and critical discourse.
Our work is fully informed by being a four-country regulator, with the health policies and professional agendas of each of the devolved countries a constant theme. Input from registrants who work there, and understand the context, is essential.
At this point in the pandemic, our professions are experiencing unprecedented attention. As a Council, we have been able to respond to the crisis with practical contingencies, nimbly and at pace. But our strategic work continues. We are currently reviewing post-registration community nursing standards, unchanged for nearly two decades, to make them fit for fully integrated health and care services – where of course Scotland leads the way.
Perhaps you will join us at our next (virtual) open Council meeting, and see us at work as a first step toward taking up the recruitment opportunity.
I joined the NMC Council as the registrant member for Northern Ireland in October 2020.
In my view it is critical that “our” regulator has registrant Council members, alongside the essential skills and knowledge of other Council members who bring the necessary diverse range of skills to ensure that the NMC is a value based, progressive and competent organisation and regulator. This is important for the reputation of our professions and also for the safety of the public.
As registrants, we are focused on safe, effective, person centred and compassionate care and treatment for women, our patients and service users and their families. The Council actively works to the NMC values of fair, kind, collaborative and ambitious, which I believe are strongly aligned to ‘The Code.’ The Nursing and Midwifery family is a broad, diverse, disparate and yet distinct group across the four UK nations. We reflect the society that we serve. Council is focused on the essential aspects of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within our business, our discussions and also within our membership.
The Council works in a truly collaborative style, there are open discussions, which are both supportive and challenging. Our Chair of Council is inclusive and provides strong leadership to the organisation on the strategic priorities for the NMC. My induction period for Council was comprehensive, which gave me confidence for when my period on Council officially commenced. Additionally, there is a formal “buddy” system for all new Council members, this is invaluable and helped me navigate the first few months as Council member.
I encourage you to consider this role, if this is not for you at this time, please consider colleagues whom you could recommend this role to. I look forward to working with my colleague for Scotland during 2022.
I joined the NMC Council as a registrant in October 2020. My background was as a Chief Nurse in both provider and commissioning organisations and most recently as a regional chief nurse for the East of England.
The regulation of nurses and midwives during a pandemic has been insightful and very interesting and has stressed the importance and value of professional regulators supporting current practice for the good of all. Although many of our meetings during this time have been virtual I have got to know Council colleagues and the executive team well and have felt amazingly supported by all, including the governance team. The induction to the organisation was fantastic, and having regular meetings with the Chair allows for individual as well as full Council debate to occur.
I have had the opportunity to be engaged in sub-committee working including the Remuneration Committee and to attend workshops. This is a really interesting time for nursing and midwifery and what better way to support the transformation of professional regulation and your profession. Come and join us, you will not be disappointed.
Sue Whelan Tracy
I am a new Council member, having joined in October 2020.
I was attracted to the work of the Council because of the paramount importance safe, effective and compassionate nursing and midwifery care carries for every member of our society’s health and wellbeing.
My prior executive specialism, in financial services, was customer engagement. With this I hoped to contribute to the NMC’s orientation towards person centred approaches to growing public trust and registrant confidence. The opportunity to work on progressive regulatory strategies and the governance of effective delivery is stimulating. The different backgrounds and experiences of highly experienced nursing and midwifery colleagues covering four nations, lay members and the Executive creates meaningful debate and broadens approaches.
From the outset, the Council appeared a vibrant courageous group with a strong partnership approach, chaired incisively and warmly. It was crucial to me that the team be committed to furthering diversity and inclusion and reducing inequalities. Since joining I am impressed with the speed and commitment on display to do better, including appointing to newly devised Council Associate roles.
Joining the Council during the pandemic, with nurses, midwives and students facing the professional challenge of their career, has been humbling. Never has their work been more important, or its safety as broadly scrutinised. It has been a privilege to join the Executive and staff for partner briefings to learn as the sector responds. Decisions to ensure public safety and evolve standards have been remotely and expeditiously considered as the emergency continues.
The Council actively works to the NMC values of fair, kind, collaborative and ambitious. The partnership approach runs deep. Council colleagues, the Executive and staff share their knowledge and listen carefully. I also find it energetic, open and decisive. I encourage anyone interested to come along to an Open Council meeting, currently held virtually, and see the team at work.