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Nursing charity appoints nurse turned author as new patron

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“Nursing is in trouble like never before”, the newly appointed patron of one of the profession’s charities has warned.

Christie Watson, an author who has written about her experiences as a nurse, has been named as a new patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation.

“Nursing is in trouble like never before”

Christie Watson

The charity supports individuals facing hardship and those wishing to develop their clinical practice by providing grants. It also funds nursing-led projects that improve patient care.

Speaking at her appointment, Ms Watson called for support for all nurses so they could continue to deliver “the best possible care that all patients deserve”.

“It’s a privilege and honour to work alongside the RCN Foundation as their patron,” she said. “Nursing is in trouble like never before and the RCN Foundation helps nurses in many ways, including those suffering financial hardship.”

The announcement of her new role comes as Ms Watson takes part in a major fundraising walk today through central London to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

Ms Watson will walk 10,000 steps to celebrate the important contribution of nurses. The event aims to emulate the number of steps taken by a nurse during a 12 hour shift.

She will be joined on the walk, which is due to finish at the RCN’s headquarters at around 2pm, by staff from her publisher Vintage Publishing, which is owned by Penguin.

Having been a nurse for 20 years, Ms Watson decided to follow a new career path and take up writing full-time.

Her latest book, The Language of Kindness: a Nurse’s Story, is an autobiographical account of her time as a nurse, and has been hailed as one of the best clinical memoirs in recent years.

The book has been granted a Sunday Times bestseller, and was a BBC Radio 4 book of the week.

Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First novel Award, and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international acclaim.

Earlier this year, Ms Watson gave a keynote speech at the RCN’s annual congress in Belfast, where she also said nursing was in “big trouble”.

She highlighted that it was a global issue for the profession and not just an NHS one. Her core message on the need to value nursing received a standing ovation from delegates.

“Nursing matters now more than ever before,” she said. “Nursing is the most undervalued of all the professions.”

She also acknowledged that she was not a “born nurse”, having considered many other careers first and actually fainting during her training at the sight of blood.

Robert Sowney, chair of the RCN Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Christie has agreed to become our first patron.

“She is a true champion of nursing, and her knowledge, experience and commitment to the profession shine through in everything she says and does,” he said.

“We are so grateful that she is already supporting the foundation in so many ways, including by spearheading the fundraising walk on 6 July,” said Mr Sowney.

He added: “We are looking forward to working even more closely with Christie in the future to support and strengthen nursing and improve patient care.”

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