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Obituary: Nan Kemp – nursing pioneer who was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal

Nan Kemp
Nan Kemp

FORMER nurse Nan Kemp who was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal travelling scholarship which led to her working in hospitals in America and Canada has died aged 86.

Nan worked at the former Boscombe Hospital and as a nursing officer at Southampton General after relocating from Northumberland to Brockenhurst in 1978. Her family said she believed “the best of nursing care was characterised by gentleness and respect”.

Nan studied at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and Toronto Children’s Hospital in the 1980s. She returned to the UK armed with a wealth of knowledge, which she put to good use during a long, distinguished career.

Born in Shrewsbury, Nan grew up in the Shropshire village of Annscroft with her brother Bob and parents Robert and Minnie Turner.

Motivated by a desire to help people, she trained as a nurse in Birmingham and Llandudno, North Wales, where she met her husband Bob who worked for the Forestry Commission. The couple married on 29th March 1958, in Chester.

Nan worked as a district nurse in Snowdonia before taking a break from her career to bring up daughters Gillian and Sarah, but returned to the profession when the family moved to Corbridge, Northumberland, in 1969.

Keen to advance her career, she studied for a diploma in nursing and became a senior sister, nurse educator and ultimately, after moving to Brockenhurst, a nursing officer at Southampton General.

Nan had pioneered the Nursing Process and Quality Assurance in Nursing after winning her scholarship – something she continued to work in throughout her career.

She also authored and co-authored several textbooks on quality assurance in nursing practice and was credited with having a long-lasting influence on the profession in the UK.

After retiring from nursing Nan helped to organise the New Forest Carers’ group meetings and encouraged people to talk about any challenges they were facing.

Described by her family as a “fun granny”, she loved to spend time with her five grandchildren. Her other great passions were her cats, reading and traveling.

“Nan was possessed of a strong sense of right and wrong and was keen to educate her children and grandchildren in matters of social justice,” said daughter Sarah.

After Bob died in 2014, Nan moved to Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, to be with Gillian and her family. In her latter years she was a resident at Falcon House care home near Bishops Stortford.

Her funeral took place on 11th February. Her family said donations to the NSPCC, of which Nan was a lifelong supporter, were welcome in her memory.

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