My job

60 Seconds with research and innovation nurse Ann McMahon

Nurses are naturally innovative but if they are going to lead change they need to learn how to demonstrate their value, says Ann McMahon.

Nurses are naturally innovative but if they are going to lead change they need to learn how to demonstrate their value, says Ann McMahon

Ann McMahon

RCN research and innovation manager Ann McMahon graduated in Dundee with a BSc in Nursing in 1979 and registered in mental health and general nursing at the age of 20. Ten years later she obtained an MSc degree. Married with two children, she has worked for the RCN since 1994.

What are your main work responsibilities?

I lead on innovation and research policy. Nurses are the mothers of invention and we are incredibly innovative but there is something inherently self-effacing about our profession and Im working on changing that culture.

How did you get your job?

Ive been passionate about research and development throughout my career. As an assistant director of nursing I

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Nurses are naturally innovative but if they are going to lead change they need to learn how to demonstrate their value, says Ann McMahon


Ann McMahon

RCN research and innovation manager Ann McMahon graduated in Dundee with a BSc in Nursing in 1979 and registered in mental health and general nursing at the age of 20. Ten years later she obtained an MSc degree. Married with two children, she has worked for the RCN since 1994.  

What are your main work responsibilities?

I lead on innovation and research policy. Nurses are the mothers of invention and we are incredibly innovative – but there is something inherently self-effacing about our profession and I’m working on changing that culture.

How did you get your job?  

I’ve been passionate about research and development throughout my career. As an assistant director of nursing I was responsible for research and development across an NHS trust. The RCN role required my skill set – while providing the opportunity to stand on a slightly bigger stage. 

What do you love about your job?

The diversity. I love working with such a wide range of nurses. And I love coaching and helping nurses realise their potential.

What do you find most difficult?

When history repeats itself because no one listens, when evidence-informed practice is undermined by ideologically driven policy, and when nurses are blamed and shamed for system failure.

How have you developed your skills in this role?

The research for my PhD explored the conditions where innovation in health care may flourish. I continue to develop my research capability in my role and as visiting research fellow at Glasgow University.

What has been your most formative career experience?

Over the past 5 years I have been working with extraordinary nurses on a programme to demonstrate their value and the value of the services they provide. If nurses are to lead change, these skills in economic assessment must be embedded in the nursing curriculum. I want to make that happen.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Keep pedalling!

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