Royal College of Nursing hires first head of comms

The Royal College of Nursing has beefed up its PR function by creating the new role of head of comms.

It has promoted former acting head of public affairs Amanda Callaghan into the role, which spans internal, external and membership communications across the UK.

The new role streamlines all the RCN’s comms teams into a single strategic management function.

It was driven by elected general secretary Dr Beverly Malone and approved by the body’s governing council. Malone has been in place for three years.

Callaghan, who took up the post last week, leads a team of 22 that reports to one of Malone’s three executive directors, Alison Kitson.

The move comes at a crucial time, with nurses gaining greater powers and the imminent introduction of new pay structures and improved career programmes.

The RCN, which has four UK offices and nine regions in England, is the largest nursing union in the world. A spokeswoman said: ‘Callaghan’s role is to ensure that nurses are involved and informed, and that the excellence of nurses and nursing is promoted.’

Callaghan will also be expected to ensure that internal and external audiences are fully engaged. Callaghan said she would work with colleagues and members ‘to develop our vision for the RCN as the voice of nursing’.

Nurses are being given powers to prescribe medicines. Along with improved roles for conditions such as diabetes, this will boost the status of the profession.

Meanwhile, 12 sites are currently piloting new pay and career modernisation models, which are set to be rolled out nationally in October.

Last month the Royal College of Nursing Scotland launched a lobbying

campaign aimed at boosting conditions for nurses and tackling a staffing crisis (PRWeek, 19 March).

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