School of Health and Society 04.11.20

Celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife with Professor Dame Donna Kinnair

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair joined University of Salford staff and students to celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair

The event had originally been scheduled to take place on the university campus in Salford. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it took place online instead to ensure as many staff and students as possible were able to attend safely.

Reflecting on the pandemic, and the impact it has had on the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, Donna told the audience: “I could never imagine that I was going to be as proud of nursing as I am today. I used to be asked, what does a nurse do. Well, people certainly know now.”

Donna also shared her own career journey, from working with HIV and intensive care patients in east London, to becoming Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in August 2018. Along the way, she has specialised in child protection, providing leadership in major hospital trusts in London, teaching, and advising on legal and governmental committees.

Donna has also recently been recognised for her influence, having been listed in the 2020 Powerlist which lists the 100 most influential Britons of African/African Caribbean descent.

“The depth and breadth of my career shows you can achieve anything as a nurse. I have always worked alongside local authorities and education. Nursing contributes hugely to the wider agenda.

“You should be really excited about the career you have ahead of you – there is no set path you have to follow. What you must recognise is you are able to do so many different things: through training, through the skills you have and through the new opportunities and experiences you will be offered.”

Addressing the student nurses in the audience directly, Donna said: “This pandemic has shone a light on nurses like never before. It has also exposed the cracks in the healthcare system.

“I have heard such wonderful things about the University of Salford, so keep doing what you’re doing and advocating on behalf of your patients. You are the future of nursing. Your commitment and dedication makes me incredibly proud. You are the future leaders of nursing.”

Students had taken part in a competition to design a new badge to celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in Salford, and Donna helped unveil the winner during the event.

Second year student Kirsty Sloan who is studying Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work (Integrated Practice) was announced as the winner. As her design was presented to the audience, Kirsty said: “I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the University of Salford, they are so supportive, and opportunities like this event today are just amazing. Thanks to your speech today Donna I feel inspired and reassured that I am on the right path, as I continue fighting for my patients.”

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