Dr Melita Irving has been an RSM Trustee since 2019 and her current term will continue until 2023. A consultant in clinical genetics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, Melita talks here about her experience as a member of the RSM Council.
Joining the RSM Council
Having completed a term as President of the RSM’s Medical Genetics Section, I was looking to step-up my involvement with the governing of the RSM. I wanted to bring my recent experience to a role on the Council, seeing myself ideally positioned to bridge the gap between decision-making at the upper echelons and the inner workings at the shop-floor level.
Contributing to future strategy
I definitely have the sense that I am making an important contribution to the RSM, not just from the perspective of its day-to-day running, but also with respect to future strategy. It was a steep learning curve to begin with, but now I have a much better understanding of the way the business of the RSM Charity is conducted, such as its relationship with RSM Commercial Services Limited, the roles of the different members of the senior management team and how financial pressures impact us as an institution.
A unifying meeting of minds
Not only do I have the privilege of working with colleagues from different medical specialties who themselves bring different experiences to the table, but I am also on the Council with trustees from other professional backgrounds, such as corporate finance and network technology. It is hugely rewarding to see the productivity this amalgamation of minds, united by a desire to see the RSM thrive, brings. It is also really pleasing to see life behind the scenes at this historical institution, and to be one of its temporary guardians.
More than an altruistic role
Potential Trustee candidates must be prepared to dedicate considerable time and take on significant responsibility. The Council itself meets a minimum of four times a year, and there are a number of other committees its members contribute to, such as Audit and Risk, Education, and Membership. The RSM management team prepares papers in advance and it is imperative to be familiar with these to contribute fully to the meetings. The RSM is a charity and as such falls under the auspices of the Charity Commission, with all the regulations that brings. So, the role of trustee is more than just one of altruistic support for the RSM, but also one with legal requirements and their potential ramifications.
What the RSM means to me
First and foremost, the RSM represents to me an unrivalled source of medical education. Predicated upon the willingness of a voluntary faculty, it provides its members with cutting-edge knowledge, networking opportunities and career support at every stage, from student up to retired fellow. And there is something for everyone, with a comprehensive archive, carefully curated library collections and a rich history dating from 1805 – it is quite a legacy to follow, and one of which I am proud to be a small part.
On Monday 28 March nominations will close for positions on the Council of the Royal Society of Medicine, the governing body of the Society.