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Dame Sheila Quinn remembered

Dame Sheila Quinn

The life of a 'remarkable' former RCN president who improved the standing of nursing across the world has been celebrated at a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral.

Dame Sheila Quinn died in December 2016 aged 96. She began her nursing career at the age of 21 in 1943 and went on to become RCN president in the 1980s.

The service held on 5 June was led by Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, and a eulogy was read by RCN general secretary Janet Davies.

'A remarkable woman'

Ms Davies said: 'Dame Sheila was a remarkable woman and a devoted nurse. She was a natural leader and successfully held many key roles throughout her long and varied career.

'And she used each one of these to promote the value of nursing on a national and international stage.

'Because of her dedication, nursing is the great

The life of a 'remarkable' former RCN president who improved the standing of nursing across the world has been celebrated at a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral.

Dame Sheila Quinn died in December 2016 aged 96. She began her nursing career at the age of 21 in 1943 and went on to become RCN president in the 1980s.

The service held on 5 June was led by Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, and a eulogy was read by RCN general secretary Janet Davies.

'A remarkable woman'

Ms Davies said: 'Dame Sheila was a remarkable woman and a devoted nurse. She was a natural leader and successfully held many key roles throughout her long and varied career.

'And she used each one of these to promote the value of nursing on a national and international stage.

'Because of her dedication, nursing is the great profession it is today and we owe her a huge debt of gratitude.'

Rising star

Dame Sheila began her career at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and soon became chair of the student nurses' section of the Lancaster RCN branch.

Ms Davies recognised Dame Sheila's work with the International Council of Nurses, as well as collaborative projects with the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and the European Union.

She told of how Dame Sheila became chair of the RCN Council for five years from 1974, and how she became RCN deputy president in 1973-74 and then president between 1982 and 1986.

Significant recognition

More accolades followed: she was made RCN life vice president in 1986, a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in 1987, and latterly received the International Council of Nurses' highest award - the Christiane Reimann Prize - in 1993.

During the memorial service, Elisabeth McDermott read an abstract from a talk given by Dame Sheila to nurses at the Southampton School of Nursing in 1974. She had compared watching the final moments of a person's life to that of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, reading for life beyond.


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