Heather Iles-Smith

Northern Care Alliance and University of Salford appoint first Chair of Nursing

Professor Heather Iles-Smith has been appointed as the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group and the University of Salford’s inaugural Chair of Nursing.

In the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the partnership is delighted to welcome Professor Iles-Smith into the role. This new role will be pivotal in progressing the organisation’s plans to develop academic nursing and Allied Health Professionals’ career development. The post is a joint appointment between the Northern Care Alliance and the University of Salford meaning Professor Iles-Smith will be instrumental in developing this partnership.

By background, Professor Iles-Smith is a Clinical Academic Nurse who has gained significant clinical and research expertise working across a number of NHS Trusts and Universities in the North of England.

As a cardiac and renal nurse her research portfolio includes care of patients with long term conditions, psychological wellbeing, health data and healthcare technologies. In 2019 she was awarded a prestigious Health Education England post-doctoral award to investigate urinary continence of older women cared for in secondary care.

Professor Iles-Smith is Chief Investigator for a number of studies including the LifeInfo study and the iWorkSmart study. She is also a collaborator and PhD supervisor to students on the ‘AffecTech’ project, a £4million Marie Curie Innovation Technology grant, investigating biofeedback and development of devices to aid the treatment of anxiety and depression.

She has significant experience of supporting non-medical staff to improve patient care through undertaking practice based research. Over the past five years she has supported over 50 non-medical staff at Leeds and beyond, who have gone on to receive Health Education England (HEE) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) fellowships and other external research awards. Professor Iles-Smith is also well known nationally for her work in developing clinical academic careers through creating innovative roles for non-medical clinical staff, and for her role as Chair of the NIHR Nursing/Midwifery Incubator, a three year initiative created to address the lack of nurses and midwives successfully accessing NIHR training opportunities.

Speaking about her appointment, Professor Iles-Smith said: “I am absolutely delighted to join the University of Salford and the Northern Care Alliance as Chair of Nursing. This inaugural role is very fitting during the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. I am incredibly excited and look forward to supporting and developing the non-medical workforce to improve patient care through undertaking research.”

She added that in collaboration with academic colleagues at the University of Salford, she looked forward to supporting and developing non-medical staff to advance their research skills and develop clinical academic roles and career pathways.

Professor Iles-Smith will join the Northern Care Alliance from Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust on September 1. This will coincide with the arrival of the new Chief Nurse for the Northern Care Alliance Libby McManus. Libby will take up the reins of current Chief Nurse Elaine Inglesby-Burke who is retiring from the NCA following her 43-year career in the NHS.

Elaine said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Heather to the NCA. The role has been a few years in its development and to establish the post before I retire in this, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, is doubly pleasing. Our staff will benefit from greater collaboration with the University of Salford and the development of the non-medical research and development strategy that Heather will lead. I know we will extend a NCA very warm welcome to our new Chair of Nursing.”

Professor Margaret Rowe, Dean, School of Health & Society, University of Salford, added: “I am absolutely thrilled that the NCA and the University of Salford have come together to develop a chair in nursing, especially during the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

“Heather is an excellent example of a clinical nurse leader – she has such a strong research profile and will bridge brilliantly across clinical nursing practice and academia. Heather will be a role model for nursing students on the importance of nurses developing and using research to ensure patients and their families receive evidence based care. This is hopefully the start of more joint appointments between the two organisations.”

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