LURGAN woman Brenda McIlmurray has been elected as the first health case assistant member of the Royal College of Nursing UK Council, the governing body of the organisation.
Brenda, who has been a health care assistant for 15 years, received the highest number of votes and will sit on Council until 2015.
Currently working with older people in an assessment and rehabilitation ward in Lurgan Hospital in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Brenda works with a variety of patients including those post-surgery and who have conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.
Brenda said: “This is a new role and an amazing opportunity to make a real difference to the profile and reputation of HCAs.
“Like many HCAs my role has evolved from providing basic personal care to more sophisticated tasks such as performing venepuncture, clinical observations and ECGs. I have undertaken a great deal of training for this, and, as an RCN Learning Representative, believe that training for HCAs is vital. Less than five per cent of the NHS training budget is allocated to HCAs and I would like to see that change.
“HCAs are an integral part of the health care workforce and I believe we should have regulation and adequate training standards in place to reflect that. I am absolutely committed to ensuring that HCA members have a voice on RCN Council and I am extremely proud to be able to sit alongside like-minded colleagues who are passionate about nursing and health care.
“I have received enormous support from my colleagues right across the UK and am very grateful to those who elected me to this post. I am fortunate that my line manager and Southern Trust have also given me great support to be able to do this role.”
Janice Smyth, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland welcomed Brenda’s election: “This prestigious appointment is a great accolade for Brenda and is good news for RCN members in Northern Ireland. I look forward to working with Brenda over the coming years.”