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Professor Mary Watkins appointed to House of Lords

Posted on 22/10/2015

Professor Mary Watkins, a former PhD graduate from the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery has been appointed to the cross benches of the House of Lords as one of four new non-party political peers recommended by the Independent House of Lords Appointment Commission.

Professor Watkins qualified as a general nurse in 1976 from the Wolfson School of Nursing at Westminster Hospital in 1976, a mental health nurse from the South London & Maudsley Nursing School in 1979, and was a Nightingale Scholar in 1985. She has worked in community, in-patient mental health and acute settings providing non-emergency and emergency healthcare. She was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Work at Plymouth in2003, Pro Vice-Chancellor Health in 2005 and Deputy Vice-Chancellor in January 2007.

Professor Watkins has published widely in the field of nursing education and leadership, and was inaugural editor of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. She has consistently been invited to represent the views of the nursing profession on a range of Department of Health working parties and is Nurse Adviser to the BUPA Medical Advisory Panel. Her interests and activities in the South West of England extend beyond nursing and higher education to include involvement in secondary education, mental health charities, social enterprise and housing.

Professor Watkins and Professor Norman, Executive Dean of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, were PhD students together at King’s and shared the same supervisor, Professor Sally Redfern.  Professor Norman, who passed on his congratulations, commented: “I am delighted that Mary’s tremendous contribution to nursing and to the wider community has been recognised by her appointment as a life peer by the House of Lords. Mary is an authoritative and much respected ambassador for nursing and her appointment to the House of Lords is a shot in the arm for the profession’. 

The other new non-party political peers appointed together with Professor Watkins are:

  • John Bird – social entrepreneur. He launched the Big Issue in 1991, a street newspaper which is written by journalists and sold by homeless people
  • Julia King – engineer and academic, currently Vice Chancellor of Aston University
  • Robert Mair – world-renowned civil engineer and expert on infrastructure and construction

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