Nursing professor made dame in honour's list calls for improvements in stroke care

The only nursing professor of stroke care in the UK is among nurses in the new year honours list.

A leading stroke nursing professor has called for more specialist nurses and ‘renewed vigour’ in stroke care after being made a dame in the new year honours list.

Caroline Watkins, University of Central Lancashire professor of stroke and older people’s care, was made a dame for services to nursing and older people’s care.

CAroline Watkins
Professor Caroline Watkins

She is the only nursing professor of stroke care in the UK and leads the internationally renowned Clinical Practice Research Unit for stroke research.

Professor Watkins was made a dame alongside Elizabeth Anionwu, emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London, who was one of the leading figures in the Mary Seacole statue campaign.

‘I’m absolutely ecstatic about the honour, whatever I’ve done it has never been an individual effort, it has been a team effort with every team I’ve worked with.' Professor Watkins told Nursing Standard: 

‘I hope this award helps to get recognition for all the improvements still needed in stroke care. Even though we have come a long way, there is still an awful lot to do. We need renewed vigour and the government needs to do something to make sure we do not fall behind in care and innovation.

‘We need to get more specifically trained specialist nurses who can support all aspects of the stroke pathway. Stroke physicians get burned out because there are not enough of them. Specialist nurses should be supernumerary to the stroke unit and have access to the right members of the multi-disciplinary team.

‘There is a huge role for nurses to help patients to have a life after a stroke and stroke prevention. Patients need to be supported as they are discharged home, they may have depression and other psychological problems and nurses can play a key part in signposting.

‘It is important to have nursing leadership in stroke care and nurse researchers can provide a robust evidence base and show how we can implement changes.’


Jane Gray, a consultant nurse and educator was among other nurses who were also recognised for their achievements.

Dr Gray has been working with Inclusion Healthcare since November 2015 and works with two homeless charities as a trustee, was awarded an OBE for services to homeless and vulnerable people in the Midlands.

‘I sincerely hope that by accepting this honour I can also use the opportunity this brings with raising awareness of the needs of the courageous and resilient homeless and vulnerable people I care so very much about.’

CBE for commodore

A nurse who is one of the most senior ranking women in the Royal Navy has been awarded a CBE.

Commodore Inga Kennedy, inspector general of the defence medical services, was head of the naval nursing service for three years and is one of the Queen’s honorary nurses.

She is responsible for inspecting medical departments across the armed forces, including everything from the sick bay of a naval base to medical units deployed abroad and ships at sea.

She said: ‘I feel shocked and quite emotional to have been given this honour, it’s not something I ever thought I would receive.’

CBE for depute principal 

Professor Paul Martin, University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) depute principal and former chief nursing officer for Scotland, has been recognised for his services to healthcare and education with a CBE.

He said: ‘My role in healthcare leadership in Scotland and beyond enabled me to develop skills that I still use in my work in higher education and in influencing national health and nursing policy.’

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