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Former minister and leading nursing figures become RCN fellows

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The Royal College of Nursing has awarded fellowships to nine leading figures from the profession at the beginning of its annual congress.

Former Labour health minister and district nurse Ann Keen was one of those to receive fellowships from the RCN in Liverpool on Sunday evening.

She was a member of Gordon Brown’s government, serving as a health minister between 2007 and 2010 and playing a leading role in the prime minister’s commission on the future of nursing and midwifery in England.

Other recipients of fellowships included nursing peer Baroness Mary Watkins, Professor Jane Ball, a researcher on nursing workforce policy at the University of Southampton, and former deputy chief nursing officer Dr David Foster.

Dr Foster is currently chair of the Foundation of Nursing Studies and a council member of the Queen’s Nursing Institute. He is already an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Midwives.

Professor Ball, a member of the Nursing Times editorial advisory board, has contributed to several studies exploring the impact of variation in nurse staffing levels and patient safety. 

Meanwhile, another member of the Nursing Times editorial advisory board who has just been made an RCN fellow is Professor Deborah Sturdy, who was nurse advisor for older people at the Department of Health in national government for 10 years.

Another new RCN fellow announced this year is Professor Bridget Johnston, who is Florence Nightingale Foundation chair in clinical nursing practice research at the University of Glasgow.

Commenting on her award, Professor Johnston said: “I am delighted and honoured to become a Royal College of Nursing Fellow. I am passionate about nursing and particularly improving end of life care.”

Professor Johnston is one of just a few nurses in the UK trained in “dignity therapy”, which supports patients in confronting the reality of their life coming to an end.

Each year the college present fellowships, honorary fellowships and awards of merit to those it judges to have given an outstanding contribution to nursing.

Fellowships are awarded to RCN members who have made an exceptional contribution to nursing or healthcare.

Full list of 2019 RCN fellows:

  • Dr Iain Armstrong
  • Professor Jane Ball
  • Dr David Foster OBE
  • Professor Bridget Johnston
  • Professor Ann Keen
  • Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE
  • Professor Michael Traynor
  • Clare Warnock BEM
  • Baroness Mary Watkins of Tavistock
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