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OBE awarded to Professor John Unsworth

2nd June 2022

Professor John Unsworth has been awarded an OBE for services to community nursing and community nurse education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

A registered nurse with over 34 years’ experience working in community nursing practice, management, and education, Professor John Unsworth is the Deputy Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University and Chair of Council at the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI). 

His previous roles include positions as the Head of Learning and Teaching at the University of Sunderland, Head of Academic Development at the Higher Education Academy and Director of Nursing Programmes at Northumbria University.

He is an experienced NHS manager, having been a Nurse Director in a rural care trust in Northern England prior to taking up posts in higher education. He has experience of workforce redesign in relation to developing the community nurses’ role around admission avoidance. Professor Unsworth is also an International Council of Nurses (ICN) Global Nursing Leadership Scholar 2020.

On hearing of his award, Professor Unsworth commented: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Throughout my career I have worked as part of some amazing teams and the team at the Queen’s Nursing Institute does amazing work for the profession day in day out. I am proud to be part of that team alongside staff and trustees.’

Professor Dianne Ford, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University, said: “John brings to the Faculty the benefits of his wealth of experience in education and leadership that meets the needs of students, colleagues, employers and numerous other stakeholders. John transfers this knowledge and support across all of our disciplines and is also a superb external ambassador, which is acknowledged through this prestigious and highly-deserved award.”

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, the QNI’s Chief Executive, commented: ‘I am absolutely delighted to see Professor John Unsworth recognised for his outstanding work in supporting community nursing and nurse education. The QNI is fortunate to have Professor Unsworth as our Chair of Trustees, where he provides excellent leadership in the governance and strategic direction of the charity. For almost a decade he has also chaired all the QNI education and practice advisory groups, overseeing the development of standards to support a range of post-registration community nursing education programmes. His exceptional commitment to the highest standards of nursing care in the community is evident and his work at the QNI is both is entirely voluntary and delivered alongside a very senior role in Higher Education, which makes it even more extraordinary.’

Professor Unsworth has extensive experience of developing nursing, medical and higher education internationally having worked to develop teachers and practice in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Ghana, Bahrain, Hungary, Ukraine and Grenada in the West Indies.

He completed his specialist practitioner qualification in district nursing in 1997. He has a PhD from Robert Gordon University which specifically examined the influence of health care organisations on innovation and development. Professor Unsworth is an alumni of the QNI Innovation and Creative Practice Awards and is a Queen’s Nurse.

Since 2015 he has Chaired the UK Advisory Group on Community Nursing Standards for Education and Practice. The Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor continues to practise as a nurse, most recently supporting the Covid-19 vaccination campaign alongside other colleagues from Northumbria University.

Northumbria is one of the top-rated universities for health care programmes in the UK, offering courses in Adult, Child, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Nursing, Midwifery, Operating Department Practice, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

In partnership with Newcastle Hospitals, the University recently opened a new national OSCE testing centre. Up to 7,000 new nurses and midwives per year will complete their training at Northumbria as part of their Test of Competence before they can be registered to practice.

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