Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies

Meet the Team

Irene Gray

Irene Gray


Irene trained as a nurse in Manchester from 1972 to 1975, specialising in care of the elderly and rehabilitation. She was a ward sister and specialist adviser in this field until 1986 when she was appointed to her first Executive Director position at the Christie Hospital in Manchester as the Director of Nursing/Deputy CEO.

Over the past 30 years Irene has held nine executive roles including Director of Nursing at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS trust, UH Bristol and a National Care Home Company. Irene was also Regional Director of Nursing and Education in the West Midlands and CEO of the Nurse Directors Association UK. Her last NHS post was as Chief Operating Officer at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS FT.

Irene has played key national roles and influenced the development and delivery of policy and is interested in leadership and change management and continues to play an influential role in nursing leadership.

In 2010, after 38 years in the NHS, Irene decided to retire, only to find yet another challenging but exciting role, providing professional expertise and leadership to a UK wide Care Home company. This opportunity has strengthened Irene’s broad experience in health and social care and led her to develop her own company to enable her to continue to influence the development of both health and social care. Irene’s first commission was as interim Director of Nursing at Weston Area Health Teaching Trust to assist with turnaround over a period of 14 months. Over the past three years Irene has focused her time coaching and mentoring professionals in both the NHS and Private Health care sectors and also Education and Industry, whilst also undertaking a role as NED for a Care Home company. Irene continues to provide peer review for a European Journal of Healthcare Leadership. Irene has also worked closely with NHS leaders in Trusts to develop patient experience systems and processes and support and coach senior nursing and operational managers.

Irene has demonstrable expertise in Leadership development, Team development, Coaching for performance, Patient and Service user experience, Governance and Assurance processes and systems and Regulation.

Irene was awarded an MSc from Nottingham University in 1997 and subsequently honorary Professor in Nursing at four universities.

Irene was one of the first Florence Nightingale fellows in 2004 and studied at Berkley and Barcelona University.

Christine McKenzie

Christine McKenzie

Facilitator of Professional Learning & Development

As a senior nurse Christine is passionate about nursing and working with others to improve the experience of those who use and work within Health and Social care settings. Christine inspires the trust and confidence of those she works with, keeping a clear focus on their goals and sculpts bespoke solutions.  She has extensive experience of developing leadership capabilities of individuals, teams and across organisations.

Christine supports, inspires and develops others to reach their potential, she cares passionately about the growth and development of people, and creatively maximises opportunities to broaden their experiences and skills.  Christine is recognised and valued for her ability to support individuals, teams and senior leaders to focus on conversations that really matter, however sensitive they are, and to make recommendations that deliver transformational and sustainable change.

Christine draws on her work as a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner in designing and implementing tailored engagement and consultation activities.  Her achievements include collaboration with the NHS Leadership Academy, working with senior system leaders to advance the Mary Seacole Steering group and leading on the RCN Clinical Leadership Programme.  Christine divides her time between England Centre for Practice Development and the Royal College of Nursing where she is the Professional Lead for the Executive Network (interim) and Professional Learning and Development Facilitator for London Region.  In her spare time Christine enjoys Cycling, Running and scrapbooking.

RCN Executive Nurse Network Lead

Page last updated - 03/08/2019