The School of Health Sciences pays tribute to Anne McLeod, Senior Lecturer in Critical Care and Programme Director for Adult Nursing, who passed away last week.

Published (Updated )

Our much-loved colleague of 17 years, Anne McLeod (Senior Lecturer in Critical Care and Programme Director for Adult Nursing) sadly passed away last week. In this tribute we honour an exceptional nurse academic whose compassion, kindness and commitment to nursing were at the very heart of everything she did.

From childhood Anne knew she wanted to be a nurse; her parents and siblings also knew from a young age that nursing was what Anne would go on to do. At school, Anne had the opportunity to undertake work experience on a ward and this consolidated her ambition. She later volunteered one afternoon each week in her local hospital whilst doing her A levels. Still keen to gain further knowledge and experience, she went on to study at St Bartholomew's School of Nursing and Midwifery, qualifying in 1989 - the St Bartholomew's became part of City, University of London in 1995, and so Anne’s connections to City can be found from the very outset of her career.

After qualifying as an adult nurse, Anne worked as a staff nurse in neurosurgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and then in general surgery at the Westminster Hospital. She worked in a number of specialist, tertiary referral settings in neurosciences and intensive care, such as the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Queens Square and Atkinson Morley's Hospital. This gave her the opportunity to develop her clinical interests of neuroscience and neurotrauma critical care, as well as invasive ventilation management, sepsis (and associated care) and the psychological impact of critical illness. Her subsequent research and publications focused on these areas and informed her teaching throughout her time at City. Her commitment to continuous professional development led Anne to successfully complete a number of postgraduate, post registration qualifications, including an MSc in Critical Care Nursing.

Anne’s passion for education was evident in her clinical work, where she excelled at the role of mentor to student nurses and junior staff, and in 1997 she was appointed to Teaching and Development Sister at Oldchurch Hospital, now part of Queen’s Hospital.

Anne joined City as a Lecturer in 2003, and in recognition of her academic leadership and contribution she was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009. Her passion always remained in the areas of teaching Clinical Skills and Acute Care/Critical Care Nursing, which she taught at pre-registration and specialist levels.

Anne described her love of teaching in her own words:

I enjoy teaching clinical skills because it’s such an important part of being a good nurse […] My teaching helps students understand why patients are treated in the way that they are, and also how to evaluate evidence and incorporate it into practice to ensure they are the best practitioner they can be. It is great watching a student’s confidence grow as they take an active part in decision making.

Anne was a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, with a strong interest in professional/ practice development and education, as well as the ethical perspectives of critical care. Her commitment to learning, teaching and providing an excellent educational experience to students was evident throughout her time at City, and most recently illustrated through her extraordinary efforts to support students through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anne was immensely proud of the work undertaken by the Nursing Division at City. She loved working as part of the nursing team and her contributions were considerable. Anne successfully undertook writing of the most recent curriculum for nursing and held roles as Deputy Divisional Lead for Nursing and Interim Co-Divisional Lead. At the time of her death she was the Programme Director for the largest programme in the School, Adult Nursing, alongside leading on postgraduate critical care modules and undertaking the role of City’s Official Correspondent for the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Her student-centred approach and attention to detail and were two of her remarkable qualities. Combined, they made her a formidable member of staff, who was committed to ensuring students had the highest-quality education they deserved so that they, in turn, could go on to make difference to people’s lives. Anne had particularly strong relationships with NHS colleagues, many of whom were her former students. The outpouring of tributes from clinical colleagues have been testament to the impact she had in clinical practice and demonstrate the significant contributions she made to enhancing and supporting patient care.

Alongside her successes in learning and teaching, Anne published 18 peer reviewed journal articles, ten book chapters and two books. She was on the editorial board of the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. These are a lasting testament of her contribution to the body of evidence that supports the nursing profession as a whole, and also of her unwavering commitment to students and nurse education. Many of Anne’s articles were written in collaboration with students, often giving students their first experience of publication and fostering in them commitment and confidence to disseminate their work.

Anne embodied the best qualities of a nurse academic; she was hard working, loyal, resourceful and had a fantastic sense of humour. Anne was an exceptionally compassionate and caring person who was always mindful of the welfare of those around her; opening a conversation with ‘are you alright?’. She welcomed and mentored junior academic staff, whilst also personally and professionally supporting those in senior roles to succeed. Anne’s fierce advocacy for students was at the heart of everything she did. Her spirit will live on in the thousands of City nursing students she taught over the last 17 years, and their contributions to healthcare will be her lasting legacy. We will miss Anne so very much; our thoughts are with her family and friends at this incredibly sad and difficult time.

If you have tributes, stories or photos you would like to share in memory of Anne please visit the Remembr. memorial page. We will be using the contributions to construct a memory book for Anne’s family.

Julie Attenborough
3rd June 2020

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