Reach Society
Reach Society

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE
Year:
2021

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair DBE is a British nurse and has been Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (or RCN) since August 2018. She has specialised in child protection, providing leadership in major hospital trusts in London, teaching, and advising on legal and governmental committees.

She initially pursued a maths degree but decided not to complete it. She later returned to education having been encouraged by an occupational health nurse to take up nursing. Kinnair credits her experience growing up with an asthmatic father with showing her the impact nursing could have on people. She attended the Princess Alexandra School of Nursing at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in 1983 to train as a nurse.

Following her training, Kinnair worked with HIV and intensive care patients in east London. She subsequently worked as a health visitor in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets and pursued further studies, gaining a master's degree in medical law and ethics. Her new qualifications led her to focus on child protection in south London. Notably, she was one of four expert advisers in the 2001 Laming inquiry into the death of eight year old Victoria Climbié.

Kinnair has held several senior positions in the healthcare sector including the following:

o Strategic Commissioner for Children's Services
at Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham health authority;

o Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust;

o Executive Director of Nursing, southeast London Cluster Board; and
o Director of Commissioning, London Borough of Southwark and Southwark Primary Care

Trust.

Further to her positions in the healthcare sector, Kinnair has taught medical law, ethics and child protection in many countries including Britain, New Zealand, Russia and Kenya.

In 2008, Kinnair was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

In addition she has provided advice to the UK government on nursing and midwifery through her work with the prime minister's commission in 2010.

In 2015, Kinnair was appointed Head of Nursing of the Royal College of Nursing (or RCN), after which she was promoted to Director for Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016.

In August 2018, she was appointed acting Chief Executive and General Secretary before being confirmed on a permanent basis in April 2019.

In 2020, Kinnair was recognised for her influence, having been listed in the 2020 Powerlist, which is an annual listing of the 100 most influential Britons of African and African Caribbean background.