The RCN vote on the current deal was open to all members in England with an NHS Agenda for Change (AfC) contract and the result informed a meeting of RCN members elected to its trade union committee, which took the final decision.
The only union to reject the deal was the GMB.
'There is much work left to do to recover what has been lost during nearly a decade of pay restraint and we will continue to make that case, as well as the broader issues on funding and workforce pressures in the NHS.
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "After today, the Government can not assume that the thorny issue of NHS pay has been put to bed". This deal marks a step in the right direction but the bigger leap to truly fair pay still needs to be taken. It does give a genuine pay rise to over one million people from next month and that can not be underestimated in challenging economic times.
'Ministers knew that the public were behind our members when they turned up the heat previous year. They can be assured that this is by no means the end of our campaigning for fair pay and their contribution to that cause will remain invaluable'.
However, it means that more than a million NHS workers - including cleaners, nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics, midwives and radiographers - will see an increase in pay for the first time in nearly a decade. "The care sector already suffers from high staff turnover and so pay must be boosted there too if we are to prevent a nursing exodus for better paid jobs in hospitals and the community." .
It won't solve NHS problems overnight..
"The lifting of the damaging one per cent cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers who've struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff".
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had previously revealed the NHS starting salary will rise from £15,404 ($20,600) to £18,040 ($24,200) by 2021, and that, depending on the role, the wage increase will be worth between 6.5 percent to 29 percent over the course of three years.
"Most importantly, the extra funding means the pay rise won't be at the expense of services or patient care", she said.