Stalwart of nursing receives profession’s highest honour

A Professor of Nursing at the University of Plymouth has received her profession’s highest accolade – a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing (FRCN).

Professor Bridie Kent was one of only 11 recipients this year – and the only one from the South West – awarded the honour thanks to her sustained track record of nurse leadership, clinical research and positive impact on patient care.

The FRCN award is given each year to recognise innovative individuals who have made an exceptional commitment to advancing the science and practice of nursing and the improvement of health and patient care.

Nominees are put forward by peers to acknowledge the experience, accomplishments and dedication to the nursing profession.

Professor Kent said: 

“I’m incredibly proud to have been recognised as a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing – it’s a massive honour. From educating the workforce of the future to being part of it myself, my passion is helping to ensure the best care reaches patients throughout our health service.”

Professor Kent trained at St Bartholomew’s in London back when nurse training was hospital-based training, rather than academic, and specialised in intensive care. She went into academia several years later, and after doing her degree in nursing, did a PhD, before taking on a clinical role in New Zealand and then a Professor of Nursing at Deakin University, Australia. Family commitments then brought her back to the UK, and she has since undertaken a number of leadership and research roles at the University of Plymouth.

To help in the fight against COVID-19, she returned to clinical practice in intensive care at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust last year, where she continues to work one day a week.

She added: 

“The start of COVID-19 was an incredibly challenging time for the whole country, and to be able to help in a small way by returning to practice was really rewarding. Ultimately, the important things remain the same regardless of the challenge – the need to offer person-centred care, skills, professionalism and humanity. It’s what we do as nurses, and something I’m incredibly proud of.”

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