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Nursing profession loses leading light on ethical research

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Paul Wainwright, professor of nursing at Kingston University and St George’s University of London, has died suddenly at the age of 62.

Professor Wainwright joined the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, five years ago. He died on Wednesday.

Faculty dean Fiona Ross said: “Paul Wainwright was an insightful colleague, inspiring teacher, challenging thinker and a good friend. It is with enormous shock we learnt of his sudden death, at a time when he was enjoying a well deserved sabbatical having completed three years as Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences.

“Only last week he was talking with a colleague how pleased he was about the papers he had submitted on his sabbatical. Small comfort, but it is good to know his work at this point, was positive, productive and satisfying to him.”  

Professor Ross added: “He used his skills of analysis and argument, not to intimidate or to impress, but to engage in stretching the boundaries of understanding about the meaning and value of nursing.

“He was particularly interested in changing how we think about nursing practice and at the time of his death was engaged through research in a number of clinical settings, including Mayday University Hospital, Kingston Hospital, the Royal Marsden and St George’s.”

Professor Peter Kopelman, principal of St George’s, University of London, said: “Paul was an extremely warm, generous character, who was widely known and respected for his teaching and research.

“He will be greatly missed at St George’s and Kingston universities, as well as in the wider health and education sectors.”

Professor Wainwright qualified as a general nurse in Southampton. He worked in clinical practice and health service management in Cornwall, Oxford and Southend health authorities. He moved into higher education as a senior lecturer at Swansea University and became a professor of nursing at Kingston and St George’s in January 2005.

He carried out research in a variety of areas but his main expertise was in health care ethics. Recent work included research on conflicts of interest for GPs working in child protection; the need for patients’ dignity in care; the nature of professionalism; assisted suicide and euthanasia; and privacy, confidentiality and covert filming.

Professor Wainwright was also an active member of the Royal College of Nursing and chaired its ethics committee for many years. 

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Paul was an inspirational figure who taught others the importance of safe, dignified, high quality nursing care; both the academic and clinical worlds have lost a great talent this week.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I heard about Professor Paul Wainwright few years ago, how students and staffs were saying that he is the best in research and ethics, I read just a few topic and research which has been done by Professor Wainwright, I believe that he done an incredible work and I'll always remember him as I'm studying nursing. We shall remember Professor Paul Wainwright and all his work and project should be honored.

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