The leader of Scotland’s largest nursing union has announced her retiral early next year.
Theresa Fyffe has held the post of director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland for 14 years.
The former critical care nurse has been praised for her dedication to the profession and “transforming” the work of the RCN in Scotland and across the UK, which has included leading a campaign on safe staffing.
In a blog reflecting on her leadership, Ms Fyffe said that a passion for nursing was one of the key elements in doing the job well.
“Our members need to know that you are accessible, that you will listen and act on their behalf to make a real difference for nursing,” she said.
“To me it was the part of the job I looked forward to the most – getting out and having conversations with health care support workers, care assistants, nursing students, nurses and nurse leaders – and it was a great disappointment that I had to cancel the visits planned for this year.”
Ms Fyffe, a former deputy chief nursing officer, said it was important to “have courage” and “be brave enough to challenge” when it came to championing the needs of the nursing profession.
“But, at times, you also need to change path or tactics when progress isn’t going as planned,” she added.
Appearing before a Westminster committee earlier this month, Ms Fyffe said it was “deeply offensive” that staff working in care homes are deemed low skilled simply because they are poorly paid.
The post of Director for the RCN in Scotland will be advertised shortly.
Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary said: “Theresa has been an outstanding colleague and leader within the RCN, as well as a great source of support and advice to me, personally.
“Her passion for nursing, her dedication and commitment to the profession, and her remarkable leadership abilities and sense of vision have made a real difference – both to the organisation and to the members we represent.”