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Death announced of former RCN president Dame Sheila Quinn

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Dame Sheila Quinn, who served two consecutive terms as president of the Royal College of Nursing during the 1980s has died, it has been announced.

Dame Sheila, who was in post at the college from 1982 to 1986, passed away peacefully at Southampton General Hospital on 8 December, said the RCN.

“The contribution she made to the RCN and the wider profession was immense”

Janet Davies

RCN chief executive and registrar Janet Davies paid tribute to Dame Sheila and her legacy.

She said: “Along with many RCN members and staff, I was very saddened to hear news of Dame Sheila’s death.

“She had a remarkable life, and the contribution she made to the RCN and the wider profession was immense,” said Ms Davies.

“She worked tirelessly to promote nursing nationally and on the global stage and helped the profession develop into what it is today: highly skilled, confident and widely respected,” said.

She added: “The RCN presidency was just one of many College positions she held and in all of them she worked energetically on members’ behalf. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”

Born in Blackpool in 1920, Dame Sheila trained as a nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary from 1943-1945, including six months of midwifery training.

She was elected chair of the RCN student nurses’ section of the Lancaster branch in 1944 and went on to hold many RCN roles, including deputy president, chair of council and ultimately president.

She also worked for the International Council of Nurses from 1961-1970, including three years as executive director from 1967-1970.

In addition, she was appointed chief nursing officer for Southampton University Hospitals in 1974. She was awarded a CBE in 1978 and made a dame in 1987.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday 21 December in Southampton – for more details email

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