RCN appoints new council chair and vice chair

The Royal College of Nursing has appointed a new chair and vice chair of its governing council.

The appointments come as the RCN continues to work towards recommendations that were put forward as part of a review into the college’s culture and governance.

The college announced today that Paul Vaughan has been elected as chair of RCN Council and will take on the role from January 2024, after acting as chair for parts of this year.

“I’ll work with council to build on the RCN’s reputation as a representative voice and a trusted education and development resource of what’s best in modern nursing”

Theresa Porrett

Mr Vaughan, who is currently vice chair of RCN council, began his career as a staff nurse working in ear, nose and throat services and is now a deputy director for NHS England.

Throughout his career, Mr Vaughan has served in various positions at the RCN, including regional director for the West Midlands and as an RCN officer in the South West.

Speaking on his appointment as chair, he said: “I’m honoured to lead RCN Council from January 2024.

“I’m committed to championing nursing excellence, advocating for health care equity, and amplifying the RCN as the voice of nursing for a brighter, healthier future together.”

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Mr Vaughan will succeed Carol Popplestone, who has been chair of the RCN since 2021.

Meanwhile, Theresa Porrett has been elected as vice chair and will also take up the role in January 2024.

Ms Porrett has a background in specialist stoma nursing and has led governance bodies including the Royal College of Surgeons Association of Coloproctology and East London Bowel Cancer Network Board.

She acknowledged that the appointments came during a pivotal time for the council, when it was implementing recommendations from a recent review into the culture and governance of the college.

The Carr Review, published last year by Bruce Carr KC, exposed issues of bullying, misogyny and a lack of diversity within the RCN’s governing council.

In addition, it revealed that the annual RCN Congress had an inappropriate sexual culture, that was seen by many as an opportunity to engage in sexual activity and where the risk of exploitation was significant.

Since the report was published, the RCN said it had been committed to meeting all of the recommendations made in the review.

Ms Porrett said: “Respecting the past and taking the learnings from recent governance reviews into the future, I’ll work with council to build on the RCN’s reputation as a representative voice and a trusted education and development resource of what’s best in modern nursing.”

The RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, welcomed Mr Vaughan and Ms Porrett into their new positions.

“I look forward to working together to continue to build upon the stability and clear vision we set out in 2023 for our organisation and as we drive forward our twin central campaigns for safe staffing and fair pay,” she said.

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