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Leading nursing professor appointed as FNF chair in clinical nursing practice research

Yesterday, Professor Christine Norton was appointed as a Florence Nightingale Foundation Chair in Clinical Nursing Practice Research at King’s College London.

The Chair position is part of a pioneering partnership between three leading organisations committed to supporting the development of nurses and midwives: The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

As the Chair, Professor Norton will work across the three organisations to create a collaborative programme of research that advances clinical practice and patient care improvement within nursing.

An expert nurse consultant and leading role model for clinical academic nurses, Professor Norton will also continue in her current post of Professor of Nursing at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London. Professor Christine Norton said, “I am passionate about improving patient care and patient experience by combining high quality research with compassionate care. I am delighted that this role will enable me to provide leadership for clinical nurses and midwives who pursue academic excellence in their research while maintaining their patient contact.

“The joint commitment from the partners in this post will enable us to become a leading centre for the promotion of clinical academic careers in nursing and midwifery, to the benefit of nurses and midwives and their patients.”

Professor Helen McCutcheon, Head of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, said “I am delighted that the School was asked to recruit for the Chair position and we’ve definitely made the right choice in Professor Norton. It is fitting that the Chair appointment should come from the Florence Nightingale School at King’s College London. We have a long history of improving patient care through innovative and ground-breaking research as well as translating our research into new practice techniques that have a positive impact on patient outcomes.”  

The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery is the oldest school of nursing in the country. It traces its roots back to the world’s first professional nurse training school, established by Miss Nightingale at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1860.

Professor Elizabeth Robb, Chief Executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said “In keeping with Florence Nightingale’s legacy, we at the Foundation are delighted to be expanding the network of excellent nurse researchers by adding another chair. There are many key areas of nursing research to which Christine can bring her expertise.”

Janice Sigsworth Director of Nursing at Imperial College Healthcare Trust said, “I am delighted with Professor Norton’s appointment which will support the continued development of nursing and midwifery clinical academic careers at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. This is a unique opportunity to bring together the strengths of Imperial, the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Kings College. Together we support nurses and midwives to develop research capability and capacity and to prepare nurse researchers of the future to focus on delivering compassionate, evidence based care to patients and their families.”

Biography of Professor Christine Norton

With extensive clinical experience as a nurse consultant, Professor Norton is considered an internationally renowned expert on incontinence and gastrointestinal nursing. She is a Cochrane editor and reviewer, and has holds a wide range of advisory and Trustee positions in patient-led organisations.

Professor Norton did her Ph.D. in Nursing at King’s College London in 2001, with a thesis entitled “Biofeedback and nursing management for adults with faecal incontinence”.

She has a proven track record of establishing and running successful professional entities, such as the Continence Foundation, the Burdett Institute and Research Design Service for London.

Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery

The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s College London is the world’s first professional School of nursing established by Florence Nightingale.

The number one Nursing and Midwifery School in London and highly regarded by leading London NHS Trusts with links to industry, health services and policy makers, the School develops leading-edge nurses and midwives of tomorrow – practitioners, partners, and leaders in their field.

The School has over 1,000 full-time students training to be nurses and midwives plus an extensive portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate activities to meet the needs of a wide range of healthcare professionals seeking continuing professional development.  The School is at the forefront of health services, policy and evaluation research and home to the influential National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU). For further information visit:

 King’s College London

King's College London is one of the top 30 universities in the world (2011/12 QS international world rankings), and was The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11', and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,500 students (of whom more than 9,000 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 6,000 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:

The College is in the midst of a five-year, £500 million fundraising campaign – World questions | King’s answers – created to address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity as quickly as feasible. The campaign’s three priority areas are neuroscience and mental health, leadership and society, and cancer. More information about the campaign is available at

The Florence Nightingale Foundation:

The Florence Nightingale Foundation exists to support nurses and midwives with scholarships, mentoring and to give them the recognition they so richly deserve.

The Foundations raises vital funds to support this key group of clinical professionals by enabling study, promoting innovation in practice, at home and abroad, and extending knowledge and skills to enable nurses and midwives to meet changing needs and improve patient care.

At the heart of our Foundation is the continuation of the work of Florence Nightingale who began equipping senior nurses and midwives with the confidence to represent their profession at the very top levels of our health system.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust comprises Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals. With more than one million patient contacts each year, it is one of the largest acute Trusts in the country and, in partnership with Imperial College London, is the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). It has an annual turnover of around £950 million.

Imperial College Healthcare is one of eleven NIHR Biomedical Research Centres. This designation is given to the most outstanding NHS and university research partnerships in the country; leaders in scientific translation and early adopters of new insights in technologies, techniques and treatments for improving health. Imperial College Healthcare has some of the lowest mortality rates in the country according to the Dr Foster Guide – an annual, independent report published 2012.

Further information about Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust:

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