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RCN Council members

The people who make up the RCN's governing body

17 Council members
9 English regions 
4 UK countries
Sheila Sobrany

Sheilabye Sobrany, President and Chair of Governance Support Committee 

Sheila trained and worked in the National Health Service (NHS) and has almost three decades of experience in the NHS, the independent sector and social care. She is passionate about effective and safe patient care, championing nurses and nursing. She has been a committed, loyal member of the Royal College of Nursing since 1999 and completed her term of office on the RCN London Board as a North East London Inner member at the end of 2022. 

With 30 years of nursing experience in various clinical settings and academia, Sheila has transferable skills and experience in organisational development and leadership. She is acutely aware of the current challenges facing the NHS, social care and independent sector, which have impacted the effective delivery of patient/client care. 

Working with the RCN and other stakeholders, Sheila's key priorities as president are:

Fair Pay significantly above inflation rate
Protecting the ‘Nurse’ title
Reducing economic, social, and psychological pressures on nurses post-pandemic era
Reducing racism, misogyny, bullying, harassment, and discrimination of healthcare workers.

Sheila's leadership qualities –
She is a skilled strategic influencer, a good communicator and an educator. As a senior lecturer at the University of East London, Sheila works with nurse academics and NHS stakeholders to promote an excellent learning experience for aspirant nurses.

As an RCN Board member, Sheila continuously raised issues on behalf of nurse members with the Mayor of London and NHS Trusts in partnership with other board members. She founded networks for nurse academics, students, and nursing alumni in London (HAREDIN), to support nurses and students to thrive and improve their well-being when they wanted to leave nursing; this work led Sheila to receive the Vice-Chancellor and President Award for Inclusive Practice at the University of East London 2022. Sheila reverse mentored high-profile stakeholders to create a positive, long-lasting, safe working culture for nurses and students.

Tracey Budding in front of a brick wall

Tracey Budding, Deputy President

Tracey has worked on the NHS frontline for over 35 years, from Health Care Assistant to a Modern Matron. Her current nursing specialism is Neonatal Intensive Care. Tracey has held many roles within and across the organisation since attending her first congress in 2002, from chairing Boards to National Committees. Tracey played an active role in her previous terms on RCN Council and was involved in developing and changing the governance structures which have affected members in local, regional and national arenas. Locally she is the lead RCN Steward & Safety Representative and interim Staff-Side Chair.

Carol Popplestone in front of a brick wall wearing Chair of Council medal

Carol Popplestone, Yorkshire & The Humber, Chair of Council

Carol has been a registered nurse since 1978. She works as a clinical nurse specialist for Macmillan developing and providing a nurse-led service for patients with urological cancers. Carol is an accredited RCN steward and was a member of the RCN UK Stewards Committee from 2013 to 2016. Carol has also previously served as a member of the RCN Council from 2016 to 2019, as chair of the RCN Yorkshire & the Humber Board and was a member of the RCN Trade Union Committee.

Carol Webley-Brown

Carol Webley-Brown, London, Honorary Treasurer

Carol brings a wealth of experience to her role on RCN Council having worked as a general practice nurse and in accident and emergency, primary care, and mental health nursing. She has an extensive track record in speaking up for nurses and patients, having worked as an independent patient liaison member on the General Medical Council, and as a trustee and non-executive member of four hospital and hospice organisations. Carol currently serves as an independent panel member on Lewisham and Greenwich councils offering her clinical experience to the fostering service. She has also held several lecturing positions throughout her career.

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Paul Lee, East Midlands

Paul began his career in 2009 as a Health Care worker and qualified in 2017 as a registered Mental health Nurse. Paul has held roles in inpatient acute adult mental health units since qualifying and is currently a Clinical Team lead on a female inpatient ward.

This is Paul’s first active role within the RCN, although he has been a member since qualifying. To be on the Council will enable him to continue advocating for his colleagues within nursing and the individuals that he cares for.

A headshot of Theresa Porrett, a white lady with short grey hair wearing a dark coloured jacket.

Theresa Porrett, Eastern

Theresa has been a registered nurse and a member of the RCN since 1988.

She has a wealth of experience and is currently working as Head of Ostomy Education and Strategic Project Manager, Coloplast Ltd. Other roles have included Clinical Director of a National Screening Unit and Nurse Consultant, which has given her a strong focus and insight into the governance structures and strategy required within large organisations.

Throughout her specialist nursing career, Theresa has sat on and chaired many governance bodies including the RCN Stoma Forum, Royal College of Surgeons Association of Coloproctology, East London Bowel Cancer Network Board and as Clinical Director chaired the North East London Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Board. She will bring the skills developed within this setting to RCN Council meetings.

Theresa is passionate about demonstrating the value of nursing, and equipping nurses with the tools to articulate their expertise. Advocating the professional nursing agenda will be a key focus for her during her time on Council. 

Paul Vaughan, a bald white man with a white beard, dressed smartly in a suit with collar and tie.

Paul Vaughan, Northern, Vice Chair of Council

Paul works with NHS England as the Deputy Director - Primary Care Nursing and NextGen Nurse. Previously Paul was a Director of Nursing, Transformation within the organisation. Currently, the focus of his role is on general practice nursing and leading the national initiative on the perception of nursing known as NextGen Nurse. The Getting to Equity programme, a component of NextGen Nurse has been devised by Paul and Carol Cooper, Director, Global Talent Compass. It provides an evidence-based framework that enables executive white leaders to promote the careers of aspiring ethnic minority nurse leaders and midwives to connect and build on existing talent that otherwise would have been missed or may not have had the opportunity to grow into senior or executive NHS leadership positions.

Paul was a Regional Director with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Leading and managing RCN services in the West Midlands, Paul worked with key stakeholders to ensure the needs of RCN members within the region were met and the interests of nurses, HCAs and nursing were promoted and protected.

Engaging members in the work of the RCN was a key focus for Paul. Through his conception and delivery of the Local Learning Event Programme (branch engagement) and the Cultural Ambassadors Programme (addressing concerns of BME members with the disciplinary and grievance process) the region gained a reputation for listening to members and working with them to deliver positive change.

Paul has also been the RCN’s HCA Adviser, offering advice to HCAs, Assistant Practitioners (AP) and employers on issues relating to the employment and development of these roles. He also made a significant contribution to the development of the HCA role in general practice through his role as the National Project Manager with the Working in Partnership Programmes (WiPP), Health Care Assistant Initiative.

Paul has completed a Masters in Management with the University of Liverpool and his dissertation focused on the factors that enable nursing staff to raise concerns in their workplace. 

Paul has recently been elected to RCN Council, Northern Region and is currently the Vice Chair of RCN Council.

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Vacant, Northern Ireland

Maggy Heaton

Maggy Heaton, North West

Maggy joined the RCN when she began her nursing career in 1993. In 1999 she became a District Nurse and chose this area as her specialism. Maggy became an active member of the RCN in 2006 when she became a Steward.

In 2012, Maggy was seconded into the role of RCN Steward and in 2014 elected as Staff Side Chair at Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, a position she still holds. Maggy is also the Agenda for Change Staff Side Lead.

Maggy has served as Branch Chair (2012-2020) for Lancashire West; she was a North West Board member from 2012 until 2020. In the final year she acted as interim Board Chair. Maggy has also served on the UK Stewards Committee for six years (2016-2022), and was Chair for the final two years. In addition to being a Steward, Maggy became a Safety Rep in 2021. 

At the start of the pandemic, Maggy coordinated a programme of local sewers who volunteered to make scrub sets for our Trust employees. Their efforts helped frontline nurses to stay safe. Maggy is passionate in her support for members and by extension for patients as well.

"All I can say in truth is that the RCN have keep me busy, and I love it. I relish the challenge of sitting on Council. I will continue to serve you with the same dedication and conviction that I hold dear."

A headshot of Jasmin Clark, a white woman with short blonde hair wearing a black roll-neck top

Jasmin Clark, Scotland

Jasmin is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and has worked in a variety of specialities, including acute and community nursing, for over 30 years.  She is currently a full-time RCN Steward and Health & Safety Representative.

Jasmin has spent the last four years on the RCN Scotland Board, and been an active participant in national partnership committees and within her local branch, promoting member engagement and ensuring the nursing voice is heard at all levels. This has given her a good understanding of the statutory purposes of the Royal College of Nursing and communicating the views of members.

Jasmin is passionate about nursing and her prime agenda is to support and promote nursing working collaboratively with Council members.

Jeremy Benton

Jeremy Benton, South East

Jeremy qualified in 2004 and has worked in a number of settings including flight nursing, critical care and high dependency units in the NHS and independent sector in the UK and overseas.. He has been involved with the RCN since he was a nursing student and has been a student steward, a workplace steward, staffside chair and branch chair.

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Nettie Jones, South West

Nettie is passionate about nursing beginning her career as a Nursery Nurse and is currently a Senior Nurse. She is an active member of the RCN as an accredited RCN Steward and Learning Rep and has also held many roles regionally in the South West including Greater Bristol Branch Secretary, and Chair and Vice Chair of the South West Board. Nettie is now excited to represent the South West on RCN Council. 
Nettie is not afraid to stand up for members which was acknowledged by the RCN when she was presented with the Award of Merit on Nurses Day in 2018 for her service to members. She also will continue to lead her Trust’s Disability Network and involve this network in regional and national EDI issues.
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Steve Watson, Wales, Chair of Remuneration Committee

Steve is a registered nurse with over twenty years’ experience both in acute nursing and in the field of social care. He is passionate about safe and effective quality care both in the acute and independent sectors. Steve has extensive experience of improving quality and services across social care settings following a career that has progressed from front line nurse; to Night Practitioner, Modern Matron; Adult Health Inspector for Care And Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) and more recently his own consultancy business. Steve has been active throughout this time in the RCN from student steward to primary care and independent sector advisor in Wales.

Steve is married with two children. He lives in the glorious North Wales and is also a member of the British Motorsport Marshall's club. He is also a member of the Care Connector Network.  

A headshot of Julie Green, a white lady with shoulder length wavy grey hair, wearing glasses.

Julie Green, West Midlands

Julie is a Registered Nurse with 35 years of experience and active within her professional body. She has driven quality of care delivery as a person-centred practitioner via both research and scholarship, and undertook a PhD centred on developing person-centred consultations with an output that continues to enhance clinical consultations on a daily basis. 

Julie is currently the Head of School for a School of Nursing and Midwifery in the West Midlands; this is the culmination of 20 years working in nurse education. Her focus is the education and training of a future-proof workforce, fully equipped to deliver quality patient care as assertive, challenging, and innovative practitioners. 
As a member of the RCN Council, she will be the voice of nurses in the West Midlands and will act as a conduit for her colleague's voices - from 'floor to board' - representing what the local nursing profession needs to be able to deliver the very best in patient care. Julie is keen to listen to the RCN membership, with a focus on the West Midlands, and advocate for the needs of the nursing profession. 

A headshot of Kevin Morley, a white man with a shaved head of grey hair. Kevin is wearing a patterned blue shirt with a collar and a dark jumper.

Kevin Morley, Nursing Support Worker

Kevin is an active RCN member and is an accredited RCN Steward and the current Chair of the RCN Nursing Support Workers Committee. He has gained valuable experience working as a Nursing Support Worker within a Community District Nursing Team and a community staff governor at a local Trust. 

Kevin has also achieved significant work as Chair of the Nursing Support Worker Committee and would like to keep up the momentum of this work as the Nursing Support Worker member on RCN Council.

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Sam Moffat, Student

Sam is a third year adult nursing student in Dundee. He has had placements in hospital wards, community hospitals, district nursing and outpatients. Sam has also worked as a carer for the past few years both in care homes and the community, something which opened his eyes to nursing when he left school at the start of the pandemic. Being a part of the 2020 cohort has been difficult for Sam and his fellow student nurses. Most of them have only ever yet seen nursing through the lens of Covid, through the face masks and the visors and the isolation. Sam has had placements where he was one of the only other human beings a patient saw, with not even their family allowed in to see them. Sam has had to isolate in cramped university halls bedrooms due to catching Covid on shift, and he has been separated from meeting his fellow students through online classes. Yet still, Sam is in love with nursing, the importance of a nurse's role and the privilege that it is to play such an important part in another human’s story. "We may not remember every patient we see, but they will remember us". 

In 2023 nurses have found their voices and are using them. Sam feels privileged to be in a position where he can advocate for all of his fellow nursing students, not just in Scotland, but in Wales, Northern Ireland and England. As the Student member of Council he wants to ensure all student nurses can be heard, and he looks forward to interacting with as many fellow students and staff as he can, to widen his knowledge of the issues effecting students. One of Sam's key commitments when running for Council was to advocate for free tuition for every student in the UK. Sam has the privilege of free education and a £10,000 a year bursary in Scotland, and it baffles him that nursing students aren't valued enough across the rest of the country to do the same. Sam feels that with the NHS in crisis we should enable more people to come take up this wonderful, challenging role.

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting every member of the RCN right now, and students are no exception. Sam wants to explore how his fellow students are weathering this storm and see how the RCN as an organisation can help. RCN Scotland has already released a survey to students to see how students are coping in Scotland, and Sam will be keen to reach out across the rest of the UK to see where students can be best supported. 

Of course, at this pivotal time for nursing as profession, news on strikes and industrial action is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but Sam wants to ensure members that the voice of students is not being lost. Sam is first and foremost a student, and he advocates for student members what he would want for himself and for his younger sister who is in her first year of nursing. As the voice for nursing students on Council, Sam is so grateful to have the amazing Student Committee by his side who will work incredibly hard to ensure student voices are heard by Sam, and then heard by the entire RCN Council.

BJ Waltho

BJ Waltho, Chair of Congress (Non-voting member of Council)

BJ is Associate Director of Operations at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She was first elected onto the RCN Agenda Committee in 2011, subsequently serving two terms as Vice Chair of Congress before being elected as Chair of Congress in 2018. She chaired the RCN Dorset branch 2007 – 2017. She was given the RCN Award of Merit in 2005 for work she had done as Chair of the Outpatients Nurses Forum.