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Keynote Speakers

Wednesday 10 March 2021: 09.15-10.00 (GMT)

Transforming healthcare beyond COVID 19 through the nursing and midwifery professions in Ireland

Ms Rachel Kenna
Chief Nursing Officer, Department of Health


Biography Ms Rachel Kenna

Rachel Kenna is the newly appointed Chief Nursing Officer in Ireland. She is a Registered Childrens and General Nurse (RCN/RGN) and has extensive clinical and managerial experience spanning 29 years in both in Ireland and the UK.

Rachel has worked as a Deputy Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health since 2018 and her primary area of responsibility was nursing policy in the area of patient systems and clinical governance. Rachel previously held the Director of Nursing post in Irelands largest Childrens hospital, Childrens Health Ireland at Crumlin.

Rachel has a real interest in Nursing and Midwifery policy but also in wider health policy and is educated in a wide range of areas to support this. She holds a MSc in Child Protection and Welfare and a BSc in Nursing Management. Rachel’s other educational qualifications includes a Higher Diploma in Professional Practice, critical care, Leadership, Quality in Healthcare and a Diploma in Human Rights and Equality and a Professional Diploma in Governance. Rachel is selected as a Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar for 2021.

The Chief Nursing Officer role has an important strategic leadership and influencing role that includes the provision of professional policy direction and evidence-based expert advice for the nursing and midwifery and general health policy agenda. The role incorporates professional regulation, strategic workforce planning and provides an exciting opportunity to develop and strengthen the collaborative working across government and the wider public service.

Wednesday 10 March 2021: 13.15-14.00 (GMT)

Nurses' role in healthcare transformation

Dr Adelaida Zabalegui
Vice Director of Nursing: Hospital Clinic of Barcelona at Barcelona University


Biography Dr Adelaida Zabalegui

Adelaida Zabalegui is a Nurse since 1982 (Spain), Master and Ph.D. in Nursing from New York University (1997) as a Fellow of the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Assistant Director of Nursing at New York City Bellevue Hospital. Director of Nursing and ViceDean of Medical and Health Science School (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya). Chief Nurse Officer and currently ViceDirector of Nursing at Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and Associate Professor at Barcelona University.

Full Professor and Advanced Researcher in elderly care, 300 publications, director of 21 doctoral dissertations and Editor of the Spanish version of the journal “Nursing”. Member of the Boards: European Academy of Nursing Science and Nursing Now campaign (European representative).


Thursday 11 March 2021: 09.15-10.00 (GMT)

Transferring healthcare in a changing world: new ways of thinking and working

Prof Anne Marie Rafferty CBE 
President, Royal College of Nursing


Biography Prof Anne Marie Rafferty CBE 

Dame Anne Marie Rafferty is Professor of Nursing Policy, former Dean of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King’s College London and President of the Royal College of Nursing.

She is a historian, health workforce and policy researcher, graduating from Edinburgh University in social science (Nursing Studies); as a clinical academic, Nottingham University MPhil (Surgery).

She was the first nurse to gain a doctorate (DPhil Modern History) from Oxford University. She is one of first nurses to be elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) and the National Academy of Medicine and Science in the US in 2020.

Prof. Rafferty holds fellowships from the Royal College of Nursing, (FRCN) & American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).

She was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty the Queen for services to healthcare in 2008 & Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2020 for services to nursing


Thursday 11 March 2021: 13.15-14.00 (GMT)

Tackling the future nursing shortage: how to do more with less

Prof. Dr. Walter Sermeus
Professor of Healthcare Management, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy


Biography Prof. Dr. Walter Sermeus

Walter Sermeus is professor of healthcare management, Leuven Institute for Healthcare Policy, University of Leuven KU Leuven, Belgium. He holds a PhD in Public Health, a MSc in Biostatistics, a MSc in Healthcare Management and a BA in Nursing. He is Program Director of the Master in Health Care Policy & Management and Head of KU Leuven WHO Collaboration Centre on Human Resources in Health Research & Policy.

He is Senior Fellow to the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School, USA, Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science, the American Academy of Nursing, the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine, the Royal Society of Medicine, UK and the Academia Europaea. He is the European coordinator of the EU RN4CAST-network, Nurse Forecasting in Europe and the ongoing EU-funded Magnet4Europe study.