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Professor to champion changing face of nursing

Posted Wednesday 11 May 2011

Professor Ruth Harris says the changes to the profession will bring significant opportunities.Major changes which will see nursing become an all-graduate career will bring significant opportunities for the profession to contribute to improving patient care, according to a top expert.  Ruth Harris has just been appointed as the first Professor of Nursing Practice and Innovation at Kingston University and St George's, University of London's School of Nursing.  She is set to spearhead new research projects aimed at improving nursing practice and patient outcomes, and aims to work closely with local NHS trusts in developing new services.

Having harboured a strong interest in research, Professor Harris is looking forward to the challenge of contributing to the new nursing education programmes.  "In the near future, nursing will become a degree-only profession, which is a huge development," she said.  "It's very exciting to be involved as nursing education evolves in this way.  A large part of my job will involve research and there will be an opportunity to work with the nursing services within local NHS trusts.  There are many opportunities for nursing to develop in different ways as provision of healthcare changes, with more care being provided in the community.  Supporting and developing those innovations will be a key part of my role."  One of her first priorities in her new professorial capacity will be to complete a National Institute for Health Research study into the impact of team-working on outcomes and the experience of care for patients who have had a stroke. 

Professor Harris has a clinical background in medical nursing and care of older people and has worked as a primary nurse on a King's Fund funded Nursing Development Unit (NDU) and as the ward manager on a nursing-led intermediate care unit.  She has worked in a variety of NHS trusts, contributing to improvements in nursing practice, and building research capacity.

Professor Harris was previously a reader in nursing at the University, which she joined in 2006 from her post as deputy director in the National Nursing Research Unit, King's College London.

Professor Harris will be based at the University's School of Nursing at Kingston Hill.  Faculty Dean Professor Fiona Ross said she is delighted with the appointment.  "It is an exciting time for nursing education, with lots of opportunities, which will be strengthened through Ruth's championing of nursing practice through research leadership in her new role," she said.

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