RCN Presidential Elections

August 20th 2020

Dear colleagues,

Many of you will be wondering about the reasons for our decision to withdraw our candidacies for the election of President of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). We owe it to you, the members, and the staff of the RCN to explain our decision.

You might have been aware that originally four people were proposed as candidates for the election for the position of RCN President and that shortly after the election commenced, two of the candidates were disqualified. This was nothing to do with either of us; we both have followed the rules of the election and were prepared for and looking forward to a positive and stimulating election process. A process that would put nursing and nurses in the spotlight.

Unfortunately, following the disqualification of the candidates, there has been a persistent and very negative campaign against us on Twitter. Our integrity, morals and values have been questioned; something that as professional nurses we have both found deeply offensive and very painful. Since the other candidates were disqualified, we have been subjected to the most horrendous and soul-destroying bullying and harassment on Twitter, a campaign run by a group of people that believe they have the right to intimidate us.

We have both had long, successful and productive careers in nursing and are held in high esteem nationally and internationally. We, in turn, hold our profession in high esteem and appreciate the hundreds and thousands of nurses of all grades, both inside and outside the NHS that have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic. They deserve praise and to be valued, remunerated and recognised for their worth.

Being a nurse is important to us, as is the Royal College of Nursing, hence our joint decision to withdraw from this election process to stop further embarrassment for ourselves and the college. For us this has been a trying and very difficult time, our grateful thanks goes to those of you that have supported us, openly and behind closed doors. It has not been a pleasant experience or one that nurses should seek to do to each other.

Ultimately, our joint priority is to protect the reputation of the College, our General Secretary, some Council members and the members of staff that work at the RCN, which we believe is being damaged by this situation.

It is therefore with regret that we have decided to withdraw.

In our opinion nursing is the best profession in the world. We are held in high esteem by the public, who have every confidence in us as a professional body; neither of us are prepared to bear witness to or be part of anything that will ruin the reputation of nurses, nursing or our Royal College.


Yvonne Coghill, CBE, MSc, RGN, RMN, HV

Professor Julie Green, Professor of District Nursing. PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCert, RGN, BEd, SFHEA, Queen’s Nurse. 


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