RCN leader Pat Cullen standing down in bid to become MP

The head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced she is stepping down to try to become an MP in the General Election.

Pat Cullen, who led nurses across the country into unprecedented strike action, said she is standing down from her role as chief executive and general secretary of the nursing union.

The press statement from the RCN does not state which party she will be standing for but it is understood she will be standing for Sinn Fein in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

“I hope my legacy here will be to have helped the nursing profession use its voice and campaign for change, for ourselves and patients. I owe RCN members a debt of gratitude.”

Paul Vaughan, who chairs the RCN Council, said: “Pat has been a tremendous leader for our profession and put the college on a journey to a brighter future. She has been fearless in rooting out longstanding cultural issues internally and speaking truth to power in the health service and politics alike.”

Professor Nicola Ranger, the RCN’s chief nursing officer, deputy general secretary and chief executive, will take on responsibility as acting general secretary and chief executive.

​The RCN said it is seeking applicants for a permanent general secretary and chief executive.

The union is holding its annual conference next week.

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