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Royal College of Nursing

Royal College of Nursing
Members395,000 (2007)
CountryUnited Kingdom
AffiliationInternational Council of Nurses
Key peopleMaura Buchanan, President
Peter Carter, General Secretary
Office locationLondon, UK

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is a membership organisation with over 395,000 members in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1916, receiving its Royal Charter in 1928, Queen Elizabeth II is the patron. Most members are registered nurses but student nurses and healthcare assistants are also admitted.

The RCN describes its mission as representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice and shaping health policies. It has a network of stewards, safety representatives and union learning representatives as well as advice services for members. Services include a main library in London and regional libraries around the country. The RCN Institute also provides courses for nurses.

Additional recommended knowledge



  The headquarters are at 20 Cavendish Square, London which was built as a substantial townhouse in 1729. The building was refronted and incorporated by Sir Edwin Cooper in 1930 into his re-development of the corner site with Henrietta Place. It has five storeys, including the basement and dormers in the attic. Its architecture includes classical Portland stone facing, a cut-string staircase with wrought iron balustrade, a stairwell with its ceiling painted in trompe l'oeil-artists. The office was the residence of H. H. Asquith. It is a grade II listed building.[1] The RCN also has offices throughout the UK. In England regional offices are located in; Banbury, Birmingham, Bolton, Bury St Edmunds, Croydon, Exeter, Nottingham, Leeds, Sunderland, and Winchester. The Northern Ireland office is in Belfast. The Scottish offices are located in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow; and the Welsh offices are located in Cardiff and Conwy.

RCN libraries

The RCN has 4 libraries, one in each country of the United Kingdom. They are located in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Additionally, the RCN Archives are in Edinburgh.

The London library, which is now known as the UK Library, was founded in 1921, and its contents include 60,000 volumes, 500 videos and 400 current periodicals on nursing and related subjects. Special collections include the Historical Collection and the RCN Steinberg Collection of Nursing Research, the latter of which comprises over 1,000 nursing theses and dissertations. Set up in 1974, The RCN Steinberg Collection of Nursing Research contains a selection of influential nursing theses and dissertations from the early 1950s to the present day.

RCN Publishing Company

The RCN Publishing Company produces RCN Bulletin, a fortnightly member publication, and Nursing Standard which is available through subscription. The RCN also publishes a wide range of papers and policy documents.

RCN Institute

The RCN Institute is part of the Royal College of Nursing and is responsible for providing nurses with an opportunity to participate in higher and continuing education, research and practice development. The RCN Institute is expected to provide education across the United Kingdom including a portfolio of experiential clinical, primary care and political leadership development workshops and programmes across the UK. In addition four distance learning programmes of study are currently offered in order to meet this need.


The RCN is governed by its Council. Council members are guardians/trustees of the organisation's mission and values on behalf of the members. They are also charity trustees and carry legal duties and responsibilities laid down by charity law. The Council is responsible for the overall governance of the RCN, and has ultimate responsibility for the sustainability and the finances of the organisation.

The Council is made up of 29 Council members: two elected by each of the 12 geographical sections (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and 9 English), two elected by student members (ANS), the RCN President and Deputy President, elected by all members, and the Chair of RCN Congress (non-voting), who is elected by Congress voting entities. The RCN's General Secretary is appointed by Council. Council members are not paid to serve on Council but voluntarily give up their time to serve the RCN and its members, in their governance role.

The current chair of Council is Eirlys Warrington


  • 1922-1925 Sidney Browne
  • 1925-1927 Sarah Swift, GBE
  • 1927-1929 A W Gill
  • 1929-1930 R Cox-Davies
  • 1930-1933 M E Sparshott
  • 1933-1934 E MacGregor Rome
  • 1934-1935 R Cox-Davies
  • 1935-1937 D S Goode
  • 1937-1938 E MacGregor Rome
  • 1938-1940 B M Monk
  • 1940-1942 M Jones
  • 1942-1944 E E P MacManus
  • 1944-1946 M F Hughes
  • 1946-1948 G V L Hillyers
  • 1948-1950 Louisa Wilkinson
  • 1950-1952 Lucy Duff-Grant
  • 1952-1954 L J Ottley
  • 1954-1956 S C Bovill
  • 1956-1958 G M Godden
  • 1958-1960 M J Marriott
  • 1960-1962 M J Smith
  • 1962-1963 M J Marriott
  • 1963-1964 M G Lawson
  • 1964-1966 Florence N Udell
  • 1966-1968 Theodora Turner, OBE
  • 1968-1972 Mary Blakeley
  • 1972-1976 Winifred E. Prentice, DBE
  • 1976-1980 Eirlys M Rees
  • 1981-1982 Marian K E Morgan
  • 1982-1987 Sheila Quinn, DBE
  • 1988-1990 Maude Storey
  • 1990-1994 June Clark, DBE
  • 1994-1998 Betty Kershaw, DBE
  • 1999-2000 Christine Watson
  • 2000-2002 Roswyn Hakesley-Brown
  • 2002-2006 Sylvia Denton, CBE
  • 2006- Maura Buchanan

General Secretaries


  • 1916-1933 Mary S Rundle
  • 1933-1957 Frances G Goodall
  • 1957-1982 Catherine M. Hall
  • 1982-1989 Trevor Clay
  • 1989-2001 Christine Hancock
  • 2001-2007 Beverly Malone
  • 2007- Peter Carter


The RCN awards fellowships bestowed for exceptional contributions to nursing. Honorary Fellowships can be granted by RCN Council to those who are unable to become an RCN member, either because they are from overseas or because they work outside the nursing profession.

List of RCN Fellows

  • Justus A. Akinsanya
  • Margaret E Alexander
  • Annie Altschul
  • Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu
  • Patricia M Ashworth
  • Margaret Auld
  • Sue Bale
  • Monica E. Baly
  • Philip Barker
  • David Benton
  • Alison Binnie
  • Senga Bond
  • Jennifer Boore
  • Patricia Bottrill
  • Martin Bradley
  • Mary J. Brydon
  • Sue Burr
  • Tony Butterworth
  • Diane Campbell
  • Anthony J. Carr
  • Anne Casey
  • Harriet Cassells
  • Sir George Castledine
  • Christine Chapman
  • Mel Chevannes
  • June Clark
  • Trevor Clay
  • Sheila M. Collins
  • Caroline Cox
  • Robert Crouch
  • Dorothy Crowther
  • Jane Denton
  • Sylvia Denton
  • Jill Evans
  • Jean Faugier
  • Ainna Fawcett-Henesy
  • Barbara Fawkes
  • Jacqueline Flindall
  • Elizabeth Fradd
  • Dawn Freshwater
  • Phyllis Friend
  • Marjorie G. Gardener
  • Angela Gould
  • Kevin Gournay
  • Margaret Green
  • John Greene
  • Mona Grey
  • Catherine M. Hall
  • Helen Hamilton
  • Winifred Hector
  • Pamela Hibbs
  • Jackie Hill
  • Lisbeth Hockey
  • Stan Holder
  • Jennifer Hunt
  • Elizabeth Jenkins
  • Elizabeth Jenner
  • David Jones
  • Gary J. Jones
  • Tom Keighley
  • Betty Kershaw
  • Alison Kitson
  • Charlotte R. Kratz
  • Sylvia Morcom
  • Jill Macleod-Clark
  • Jean McFarlane
  • Hugh McKenna
  • Barbara McNulty
  • Christine Moffat
  • Linda Nazarko
  • Betty Nicholas
  • Ruth Northway
  • Doreen Norton
  • Gaynor Nurse
  • Peggy Nuttall
  • Gillian Oliver
  • Grace Owen
  • Alan Pearson
  • Susan Pembrey
  • Ellen Louise Perry
  • Robert J. Pratt
  • Sheila Quinn
  • Tom Quinn
  • Dorothy Radwanski
  • Malcolm Rae
  • Anne Marie Rafferty
  • Kathleen Annie Raven
  • Elizabeth Raybould
  • Susan Read
  • Jane Robinson
  • Malcolm Ross
  • Sarah Ryan
  • David Rye
  • Barbara Saunders
  • Ruth Sims
  • David Sines
  • Muriel Skeet
  • Flora Eileen Skellern
  • James Smith
  • Vicky Stevenson
  • Barbara Stilwell
  • Les Storey
  • Maude Storey
  • Ben Thomas
  • Robert Tiffany
  • David Thompson
  • Roderick Thomson
  • Alison Tierney
  • Neslyn Watson-Druée
  • Christine Webb
  • Richard Wells
  • Beatrice Brysson Whyte
  • Jennifer Wilson-Barnett
  • Stephen Wright

Honorary Fellows

  • Linda H Aitken
  • Ruth Nita Barrow
  • Patricia Benner
  • Rebecca Bergman
  • Gabriela Bocec
  • Alice Clamageran
  • Sister Frances Dominica Ritchie
  • Claire Fagin
  • Vernice D. Ferguson
  • Sabina De Geest
  • Dorothy Hall
  • Ingrid Hamelin
  • Virginia Henderson
  • Jadwiga Izycka
  • Nigel Kee
  • Margaret Currie Neilson Lamb
  • Norma Lang
  • Amelia Mangay Maglacas
  • Marie Manthey
  • Arfaf Meleis
  • Helen Mussallem
  • Kofoworola Abeni Pratt
  • Eileen Rees
  • Juanita Rule
  • Cicely Saunders
  • Hilda Marjorie Simpson
  • Gloria Smith
  • Margretta Styles
  • Elizabeth Elaine Wilkie
  • May Margaret Durrant Williams
  • Wang Xiuying
  • Peggy Vidot
  • Thelma Wells


  1. ^ 20 Cavendish Square. Images of England. Retrieved on 2006-06-30.
  • Bowman, Gerald (1967). The Lamp and the Book: The Story of the Rcn 1916-1966. London: Queen Anne Press. 

External links

  • Royal College of Nursing
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Royal_College_of_Nursing". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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