There are many active RCN members in the workplace. Some hold official roles, and many others get active through their branch, professional forum or through the RCN’s social media groups.

RCN representatives 

A trade union representative (rep) is a member who has been elected to represent union members in the organisation where they are employed. The RCN has three types of accredited rep: learning rep, safety rep and steward.

Learning reps

Support the ambitions of our members by promoting learning and career development. Where learning reps have the most influence in the workplace:

learning reps

Safety reps

Help to ensure our members operate within a healthy and safe working environment. Where safety reps have the most influence in the workplace:

safety reps


Protect the rights of our members, ensuring fair treatment on all employment related matters. Where stewards have the most influence in the workplace:


Source: the value of trade union workplace representatives in health care:

All these activists – learning representatives, safety representatives and stewards – are there to support you. If there is a notice board in your workplace, you may be able to access their contact details from there. If not, and you need help and support, please contact our advice team.

Interested in becoming an RCN representative? Visit for more information.

RCN branches

At the Royal College of Nursing we know what a fulfilling and amazing career nursing can be. However, nursing through a global pandemic has highlighted the challenges nurses face. With increasing staffing shortages, the nursing workforce  –  and health care –  is at breaking point.

The RCN is member-led, which means the work the RCN does is shaped by you. You can influence the work the RCN does by attending your local branch meeting.  

Your branch helps organise activities in your area and provides opportunities for you and fellow members to participate in. You can shape RCN activity around tackling the issues that affect you, your fellow members and colleagues in your workplace.

As a student, your voice is powerful: join your local RCN Fair Pay and Safe Staffing campaigns, support your local branch, join your inclusion network, or get active as a Student Ambassador.

Click here to find out about your local branch.