Project Engagement Lead gives keynote speech at #RCN16 Congress

Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw was honoured to be invited to give one of the Keynote speeches at the RCN Congress 2016 #rcn16 on Wednesday 22 June.

The event was live streamed all over the world, and we are pleased to be able to share the link to Tommy’s speech here.


This years Congress was held in Glasgow at the SECC and the team would like to thank the RCN Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Michael Brown, Chair of Council and Stuart McKenzie, Chair of Congress for this great honour.

RCN @thercn

Stuart McKenzie @stueymckenzie

Janet Davies @janetRCN

You can find out more about the Congress at the link here along with the RCN home page here

Thank you RCN for this incredible opportunity. It was a truly inspiring day and we were proud to watch the RCN Debate on dementia and commend the RCN for adopting a resolution ‘to lobby for better policy, to ensure a fair deal for dementia patients and carers when admitted to acute care.’


We also asked congress to pledge to make a difference,  read the inspiring pledges made on the day below!

Tommy was also on the BBC news on the 22nd of June, Catch up from 11:40 onwards at

I pledge to learn from what I’ve heard today. I believe I always take the time for all my patients and I will continue to do so.

I pledge to take the lesion learner from Tommy Whitelaw and his mum Joan to our agency staff who are assigned especially to care for people in care homes and sometimes homecare.

I pledge to make sure dementia services are supported by NHS freely.

I pledge to ensure I think of a patient life not what’s wrong with them.

I pledge to keep the person at the centre of their care. Care is always about the person.  Use names they are known by.
John Templeton

My pledge is to ensure every person who has a diagnosis of dementia or a person with no diagnosis will always be a person 1st and treated with respect and dignity on my ward and anyone I come in contact with.
Karen Dakes

I pledge to care for all of patients as if they were my family, with dignity and respect.

I pledge to bring services and resources to people with dementia and to record their memories.

I will continue to listen to and get to know my patients and treat them with respect and dignity.

I pledge to be that difference and the families and carers involved in their care. Stop you: I hope nothing! I pledge to listen more carefully to patients with dementia and their carers.  Respect the people and think of how they are coping.
Christine Hitchin

In my role at the CCG I will endeavour to monitor the quality of dementia services and speak up to ensure the right services are in the right place.
Jane Richards

I pledge to share the powerful message “what matters to you and who matters to you” in my workplace and continue in my daily encounter with people I meet.
Carole Speirs

I pledge that every student I teach will know the patient not just the diagnosis.
Pauline Carson

I pledge to listen, listen and listen.
Katie Ashton

I am going to go to workshops and events to expand my knowledge to dementia, so I am able to provide effective care.
Daniella Harris

I pledge to spread to carers within my filed of Domiciliary Care, and complex within community in England. Thank you for reinforcing my reasons for becoming a nurse.
Sarah Laminin

My pledge is to ensure that every interaction I have with someone is one of kindness and compassion and to instil that in people I work with.
Lou Fowler

I pledge to ask as many of the patients/people/cares I meet “what matters to you” and to remember they may be scared/worried.
Kim Davies

I pledge to remember that Tommy touched my heart, but I will continue to listen, learn to understand and care in an individual person centred way for every person that I have the honour to care for.
Jennifer Sharp

My pledge is to see people with dementia in my care as reachable, as functioning people. To try and listen more to them.  To engage their loved ones and to ensure we use WMTY and all about me cards more.
Claire Fisher

I pledge to continue caring, listening, sharing and being there for anyone and everyone who so ever.
Helen Taylor

My pledge is to tell my colleagues, friends and family about Joan`s love story and encourage them all to find out about the stories of others and don’t forget that our patients are people first. Mums, Dads, Wives, Husbands, Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters they are important not just their conditions.
Pauline Hughes

I promise to always see the person and make a positive difference in their life and care and to also care for their family/friends who are carers.
Gillian Hill

I pledge to continue being a “sticky beak” and asking my patients what they do and chatting about their social life as this allows me to care for the individual.
Pat Holdsworth

I pledge to work with Tommy re the pledges #makeadifference – looking at nursing/nurses role in dementia.
Bridget Johnson

I pledge to find out in my area what people living with dementia and their cares support each other and volunteer – Awareness to colleagues. I pledge to educate all professional carers on the importance of “what matters to you”.
Elaine Stevens

I pledge to support my father in law (more!) who has dementia, and my family.
Gerry Bolger

I pledge to listen to who my patients are not merely checking data, their needs and wants, and act on that info.
Janette Astles

I pledge to always, from now on, to ask what and who matters to my patients and families, colleagues and friends.
Janet Eastwood

I pledge to care for all my patients from the frontline and the way through to getting home. To do more for my own mum and dad and for dementia.
Joanne McGillin

I pledge to ask more cares, families and people living with dementia what is important to them and to recognise the asset that carers are.
Gareth McLean

To ensure everyone I care for is given the time and respect they deserve and for them to have a voice.
Yvonne Norman

I pledge to call my parents on a daily basis. Consider them first before myself as they did when I was growing up.  I owe them everything.

I pledge to be patients, kind thoughtful and treat every person as if they were my parent, who both deserved the very best of care.
Vicky Keir

I pledge to continue working with people living with dementia and their carers to inspire outcomes. Person centred care matters most.  To also liaise with general hospitals in area for Tommy to talk to them.
Juliet Millar

I pledge to be understanding of the needs of carers of people who have dementia and help them to access the best care they need.
Martin MacGregor

I pledge to raise awareness with community nurses in my workplace.
Vickie Whittingham

I pledge to treat everybody as am individual, showing love and compassion.
Sandra Walter

I pledge to champion the cause of those living with dementia and their carers.

I pledge to make sure that all students in the facility of nursing and midwifery, Kings College, London hear yours and Joan`s story.
Dr Sue Woodward

I pledge to continue promoting the patient voice and using innovations in dementia to improve care.
Chloe Robinson

I pledge to ensure every patient and carer affected by dementia know they matter and they receive the love, care and respect they deserve.
Alison Upton

I will not walk past “sub standards” and I will address some. In other words, I will not accept standards that compromise person centred care.
Mary Doolan

I pledge to show compassion and care to all people, not just those living with dementia.

I pledge to be that nurse who puts my arm around your shoulder and lets you know I am standing beside you.

I pledge to always treat patients like people. Have time to get to know their story and make them feel human again. Stop you: Don`t go back until my training until summer next year.
Lucy Mason

I pledge to promote this message back across my work place.

I pledge to spread the word of Dementia Carer Voices, to take Tommy`s speech and show my colleagues – Sit in my lecture theatre but Tommy`s speech BEST lesson I have been taught. Nothing.  Cannot ignore the passion that keeps Tommy`s love story going.
Lisa Makin

I pledge to promote better, more informed dementia care in all areas of care.
Heather Lee

I pledge to make sure I pass on what I learnt today to colleagues, it’s all about the individuals love story! Never forget the person.
Joanne Stevenson

I pledge to always remember the person for whom I am caring for.
Colin Revell

As a teacher, to remind staff about people, their lives, that with respect.
Ian Thomas

I pledge to be empathetic and make time to patients.
Vera Harding

I pledge to always keep the person at the centre of my care and treat them with respect.
Gary Ward

I pledge to take the time to ask and listen and not name people by their illness but ask what I can do to help.
Lynsay Ward

I pledge to start asking what matters to you and how I can make sure you are not sad today. I want to ensure “ALL” patients in our practice are empowered and supported every single day and I will give them open access to me.
Christine Rowley-Harris

I pledge to treat those with dementia as a person, not a diagnosis in my role as a nurse, an AMHP, Husband, Father, Friend and treat with care and compassion.
Colin Burgess

I pledge to pass on the content of Tommy`s experiences to other nurses unable to attend today.
Steve McKenna

I pledge to provide the care that is necessary, but starts of as a basic need, to the family and patient.
Janet Hindle

I pledge to encourage all of the nursing and allied professionals that I teach to ask the questions “who are you” “what is important to you” “how have you been” to ALL their patients to give that care, the basic care that important.
Karen Sanders

I pledge to make sure my whole team have seen Tommy`s talk.

My pledge is to continue to care for my mother in law through help staff at meadival nursing home.

I pledge to take the time to listen to my patients. To enable them to express their feelings.  To work with them to give them the support they want and need.
Sally Emmett

My patients must be given every opportunity to have their voices heard and have a say every step of the way the care they receive.

I pledge to remember my love for Gramp and Pterry every time I support anyone with dementia. Sarah Waters

I pledge to stay in my dementia assessment was sister post despite struggling and the personal toll of taking on the system and poor attitudes.

I pledge to continue to fight for all the patient voice. Stop you: managerial roles, budgets and long working hours.
Emma Channing

I pledge to arrange an RCN branch study event in East Ken to educate other nurses to dementia.  Jayne McCreadie

I pledge to support our dementia link nurses to develop in their role and continue to provide excellent care and support to those who we care for.
Andrea Kilduff

I pledge to listen more and better.
Celia Manson

I pledge to make sure that the standard I walk past is the standard I accept and would accept for my family being cared for.
Becky Hoskins

I pledge to keep my line of sight to my patient. Remembering to identify them and not the illness.

I pledge to connect with family, friends and others in my community who are cares sharing experience and support.

My pledge is to make a difference in every interaction I have and to actively champion for change.  Michael Brown



Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges
3 comments on “Project Engagement Lead gives keynote speech at #RCN16 Congress
  1. […] You can also find out more about Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw’s keynote address given to congress in June, and read the pledges made by delegates on the day here. […]

  2. […] Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw’s keynote address at the RCN Conference […]

  3. […] had heard Tommy speak before at the RCN Congress in Glasgow back in 2016 and personally pledged to bring him to Nottingham one […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: