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RCN Fellowship Awards 2009

RCN Fellowships are awarded to UK registered nurses who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of nursing and/or health care.

RCN Fellows have made exceptional contributions to the art and science of nursing, and many continue to use their expertise to support and enhance the work of the RCN in pursuit of its aim of improving standards of nursing care.

Read 2009's Fellows' stories:

Professor Bernie Carter

One of the UK's leading children's research nurses, Bernie Carter's seminal work on children's pain and its impact on their lives and their families was instrumental in raising awareness of this issue, and helped to change policy and practice initiatives in children's pain management. Her drive to put the child and their family at the centre of care, coupled with her clinically focused research, has garnered her international recognition as an opinion leader and advocate for high quality, responsive and appropriate care for children and their families in all settings.

In her work as Professor of Children's Nursing at the University of Central Lancashire, and as Director of the newly established Children's Nursing Research Unit at Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, she has rigorously championed the importance of nurse-led research and has proved to be a true leader of academic practice through her own research, mentoring and supervisory activities. Working with practitioners at every level, she has demonstrated the critical role of the nurse as advocate for the child and family irrespective of whether that nurse is providing direct care, or is in management, education or research.

As a narrative qualitative researcher she has led the way in the development of data collection methods that prioritise the voice of the child over proxy accounts. Through her work she has initiated and evaluated innovative and creative methods of working with children, significantly extending the science of research methods used with children and young people in the UK and overseas.

An accomplished and respected author in her specialty, her counsel is widely sought by junior and senior colleagues in children's nursing and she regularly speaks at conferences and events around the world. Her work as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Child Health Care, published by Sage in association with the Association of British Paediatric Nurses, has helped propel the journal into its current position as one of the most respected child health care and children's nursing titles in the world.

Baroness Audrey Emerton

Throughout her life Baroness Emerton has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to care and the nursing profession. During a full and busy career she has upheld the highest standards in her clinical practice, nursing education and general management roles. Today, she draws on her extensive nursing experience and knowledge to shape health care policy.

An outstanding nurse leader, her exceptional capabilities in undertaking the role of Chief Nursing Officer for Tunbridge Wells and Leybourne and Regional Nursing Officer for the South East Thames Regional Authority led to her appointment to the General Nursing Council. She went on to chair the English National Board, and subsequently became the Chairman of the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting between 1985 and 1993.

Throughout the 1990s she championed the role of nurses and nursing, promoting the value to be gained from the establishment of an efficient and effective nursing service. Recognised for her outstanding contribution to nursing, she was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Kent and served as a Vice President of the RCN from 1994 to 1999. Her extensive commitment to nursing and public life was further acknowledged with the bestowment of a DBE, and in 1997 she was raised to a peerage.

As a cross-bench peer Baroness Emerton today pursues an active role within the House of Lords, speaking on a variety of health related topics, including social care, voluntary services and welfare. Held in the highest regard within the House of Lords for her ability to utilise her extensive nursing experience to inform and influence, she is involved in a number of all-party groups, and currently is Vice Chair of the Veterans Group as well as Secretary of the Dying Well Group.

Alongside her extensive commitments, Baroness Emerton has been a long standing member of St John Ambulance, becoming County Nursing Officer for Kent, County Commissioner for Kent and Chancellor Chief Commander nationally. Currently Director of the Order of St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service, she is also President of The Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Judith Hill CBE

Judith Hill has made a considerable contribution to the development of nurses and nursing practice in Northern Ireland. Having commenced her career at St Thomas' Hospital, London, in 1978 she made the move to nurse education, specialising in palliative care and progressing to become Nurse Director in both the Wessex and the South West Regional Health Authorities. During this period her strong background in clinical nursing, nurse teaching and senior nurse management enabled her to make highly strategic contributions to the work of the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, of which she was a member.

In 1995 she was appointed Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Northern Ireland and proved to be a determined and very capable leader who demonstrated an impressive commitment to the nursing profession and patient care. As CNO her achievements were significant; she developed the framework leading to the integration of nursing and midwifery education into higher education, oversaw the introduction of nurse prescribing, developed the guidance and assessment criteria for access to free nursing care within the independent sector, established the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery, and chaired the Northern Ireland review of palliative care services.

An astute and perceptive thinker, as CNO she worked alongside ministers, staff nurses, patients and the public, displaying significant integrity, compassion and expertise in all she undertook. Her vision helped drive nursing forward in Northern Ireland during a time of great turbulence and change within the health service, and in recognition of her services to nursing in Northern Ireland she was awarded the CBE in 2000.

In 2005 she took on the role of Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Hospice. Under her inspirational leadership the hospice has been reinvigorated and propelled into a central role in the community serving adults and children. Today the organisation is viewed as being patient and family centred, an employer of choice, and the provider of high quality learning, advice and support for the wider service. For her continued contribution to nursing, in 2008 Judith was awarded the RCN Northern Ireland Outstanding Achievement Award.

Professor Ian Norman

An outstanding leader in research, teaching and learning, and clinical practice in the field of mental health, Ian Norman has played a key role in shaping both nursing practice and service delivery in this area. He has also been in the forefront of research, education for evidence based practice and the promotion of nursing scholarship.

Amongst his many significant contributions are his research on quality assessment instruments in nursing, clinical competence assessment measures, and NHS cadet schemes. His recent activities include an evaluation of support groups for families of people suffering from schizophrenia, a trial of a computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) package as a teaching intervention, and his leadership of a national evaluation of supplementary prescribing in mental health on behalf of the Department of Health in England.

His toolkits and methodologies have been widely adopted across mainland Europe. Indeed his research in defining competencies for nursing education in Europe was recently cited in a European Union (EU) project designed to harmonise nurse competencies across the EU; currently he is conducting trials of an educational intervention to increase awareness and reduce the impact of stigma of mental illness with nursing students.

His extensive research portfolio covers a range of professional nursing interventions and technologies and their impact on the delivery and quality of patient care, alongside inter-professional studies. One of his books, The art and science of mental health nursing has become the resource of choice for mental health nurses, particularly for pre-registration students. Furthermore, his work as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Nursing Studies has propelled the journal into its current standing as the highest impact non-specialist nursing journal in the world.

Susan Oliver

An inspirational nurse leader, Susan Oliver has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of rheumatology and rheumatology nursing both nationally and internationally. As nurse advisor to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, she has championed the patient's perspective and ensured that issues such as postcode prescribing and the implementation of biologic therapies based on clinical need have been propelled into the public domain.

As chair of the RCN Rheumatology Forum she has overseen the development of standard guidelines for effective practice and audit in rheumatology nursing, while supporting the creation of the arthritis and musculoskeletal alliance standards of care for inflammatory arthritis, back pain and osteoarthritis. Under her leadership, the forum has been at the forefront of international work in the specialty.

In her work as nursing lead on a variety of NICE drug therapy appraisals she has been a tireless advocate of patient needs and treatment choice, and the importance of the nursing contribution to care delivery. Alongside her work on the Department of Health's Musculoskeletal Services Framework, she has participated in the Lord Darzi review and contributed to the long term conditions agenda. Currently, she is leading on a national survey of rheumatology nurses and is joint chair of the Rheumatology futures project, the first survey of rheumatology teams, including the wider rheumatology community and patients to explore patient and health care professionals' perceptions of rheumatoid arthritis care. The project works collaboratively with charities, professional groups, pharmaceutical companies, patient groups and parliamentarians to develop more efficient and patient-focused rheumatology services including a commissioning pathway for inflammatory arthritis.

Sue has worked extensively with international colleagues, especially nurses in the United States, Finland and Hong Kong, to support the global development of rheumatology services. She also provides mentorship for junior colleagues who are establishing themselves in the role of rheumatology nurse specialist.

An accomplished author in the specialty, she is regularly invited to speak at national and international rheumatology conferences. Her knowledge and opinions are widely sought and respected by all members of the multidisciplinary team and she is held in high esteem by the rheumatology fraternity and patient organisations alike.

Professor Roger Watson

Over the course of his distinguished career, Roger Watson has made a number of significant contributions to the international knowledge base of professional nursing. In particular, the impact of his work on the ethical aspects of nutritional care of people with advanced dementia has helped to change the quality of care and life for individuals in the UK, the USA and Taiwan.

His development of the Edinburgh Feeding Evaluation in Dementia (EdFED) scale in 1994 confirmed his international leadership status in the ethical care of people with dementia. The scale - which remains the only validated instrument in this area - helped shape a major NHS programme to improve the nutritional care of older people with dementia, and has been extensively acknowledged as a ground breaking framework for the development of evidence-based care strategies. Similarly, his Caring Dimensions Inventory has been widely used, both in the UK and internationally, to measure aspects of care in nursing.

As a result of his work on nutrition and dementia, Roger Watson has been propelled into playing key advisory and developmental roles for the NHS. He has also been involved in numerous government and charity funded projects to investigate a range of nursing workforce issues, including stress, competence, and the contribution of older nurses to the UK NHS.

A passionate advocate of the role of life sciences in the role of nursing and the need for graduate education for nurses, his workforce development research has been influential in evaluating and formulating policies related to new routes of entry into the profession. He has published an immense and varied body of works; his text books, for example, are widely used within UK nurse education at all levels and have been influential in nursing curricula development.

Internationally his work is held in high esteem. In South East Asia he has held external examiner and visiting professor appointments and is an established mentor of nurse scholars, while in the USA he was the first UK Fellow to be appointed to The American Academy of Nursing.

In addition to his role as Professor of Nursing at the University of Sheffield, since 2003 he has transformed the Journal of Clinical Nursing into one of the top nursing journals in the world. Under his leadership as editor-in-chief, the publication has become a forum for lively debate on critical issues impacting the profession today.