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Spotlight: Influential nurses and midwives in the NHS

By Michal Kawka


This year’s World Health Day theme is' Year of the Nurse and Midwife’, intending to highlight the need to acknowledge the competence, increase the influence, and maximise the contribution of nursing to the achievement of universal health coverage. With that in mind, in this spotlight, we’re trying to shed light on exceptional nurses and midwives from the NHS.

In 2018, the NHS and the Nursing Standard have collaborated on a list of 70 most influential nurses and midwives between 1948 and 2018 [1]. Having first come across this list I was astonished by the diversity of backgrounds and stories of amazing individuals, who have contributed to the field of nursing and midwifery in some many unique ways. The list is full of leaders in their communities, educators and researchers – all of whom have contributed to changing the practice and improving patient care, throughout the years.

It would be impossible to shed light on every one of these individuals, but I’d like to highlight a few: Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, who has become first sickle cell and thalassaemia nurse and has pioneered a national screening programme of babies; Professor Paul Lewis, previous vice-chair of Royal College of Midwives, who has devoted himself to supporting women in his profession and Ms Doreen Norton, who’s research and determination resulted in establishing pressure sores scale, an invaluable aid to practice and patient comfort.

These are only a few stories, but strongly encourage you to visit:, to find about all 70 stories of nurses and midwives who have shaped the NHS throughout the years.

1. 70 NHA Years, A celebration of 70 influential nurses and midwives from 1948 to 2018.


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