There have been complaints that posts on the RCN Members Facebook group have become too negative, so I want to share some good vibes, and not in a fluffy hug-a-rainbow way.

Just under a year ago, the day after last year’s Congress where I was riding on a high after our emergency resolution on pay and a superb night at the Nursing Showoff, my then-1 year-old son Kip was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

We spent the following weeks shellshocked and in the care of the wonderful nurses and doctors at Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital as we tried to figure out if our son was going to die or not, and trying to explain what was going on to his 4 year-old sister without scaring her witless.

Ever since that horrific admission night, we’ve had nothing but dedicated and compassionate care from the nursing team. They did their clinical work quickly and effectively, even when totally stressed with shortages, working late and through their breaktimes. They came in on days off to make sure everything was done. They patiently handled our questions and their students’ questions (hey BCU students – you are awesome!).

I love this profession. I love this job. I’m indebted and eternally grateful to you, my colleagues, who kept our boy thriving; caring for his broken skin, changing his dressings, helping him learn to walk, keeping his fever at bay, making him smile, weighing his poopy nappies and checking all aspects of his health. Grateful to those in ED, and each specialist in the grand tour of wards with each emergency admission over past months.

And I’m indebted and eternally grateful to my colleagues who kept me and his mum and his sister sane and grounded (as much as you can, knowing that my baseline is off one end of the bell curve…).

And then I see what this pay offer really is.

And I compare it to what you did for us, for my son.

And it gets me really pissed off that anyone thinks you’re worth that little.

And what voice I have is not big enough to get that message out there alone.

So I’m not sorry for “negative” posts complaining about pay. I’m not sorry for challenging the attitude that there’s no money left. I’m not sorry for calling out misleading charts and doublethink. I’m not sorry for opposing the angel stereotype because you’re not angels, or superheroes, or martyrs – you are hard-working, under-appreciated professionals who’ve been treated like crap for decades. I’m not sorry for ridiculing the magic-money-tree lies of politicians and talking heads.

I’m going to fight for you to get paid more. I’m going to irritate and coerce and encourage and threaten and cheer and shout and persuade as much as I can, and never take no for an answer.

That’s not negative. We’re in a battle, and fluffy just doesn’t cut it.


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