Community Health Innovators

Transforming health through frontline innovators


The Nurse First blog supports the work of the Nurse First development programme. The programme enables front line clinical staff to create sustainable innovation in their organisations. The blog is divided into three areas, Innovation, Leadership and Healthcare in order for you to look for specific posts which interest you. We welcome comments and love conversations generated by the posts.

About our Authors
Dave Dawes is a nurse and has been a founding member of 4 social enterprises over the last 8 years. He is the first nurse to be elected to the Council of the Social Enterprise Coalition and the first social entrepreneur to be elected to the Council of the Royal College of Nursing. He was one of the youngest Chief Executives in the NHS and had held a number of NHS management posts in Health Authorities and Hospital Trusts and has published extensively in nursing and management journals. He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on social entrepreneurship, e-learning and leadership. He jointly led the e-learning programme which won the Institute of IT Training Award for e-learning project of the year in 2003. He has a MA in Managing Healthcare, a degree in Mathematics and Post-graduate diplomas in Health Economics and Healthcare Management.

David C Roberts is the Development Manager for Nurse First and his experience is in supporting individuals and organisations in creating their future. He is passionate about innovation, personal development, and encouraging learning. Working internationally supporting individual entrepreneurs, commercial organisations, educational institutions and government bodies. He is a key note speaker, facilitator, enterprise educator, and founder of and the Manchester Societal Innovation Network.

Holly Matthies is the Office Manager for Nurse First and her work history includes everything from NHS nursing assistant to supporting disabled students to canvassing voters in two countries. She has co-written a book, Designing Human Systems, on the importance of making IT systems suit the people using them, rather than the other way around. She is originally from the United States and likes living in a country with a nationalised healthcare system.

Ali Richards is a nurse and Associate of Nurse First. She has run and founded three companies, one of which was a social enterprise. She works part time as a mentor for start ups and growing business in the North West specialising in social media support and is a management trainer for several local authorities. Ali has worked in a variety of healthcare organisations and private companies and was the National coordinator for nursing leadership programmes in the years 2000-2003. She is a frequent speaker on nursing and leadership and has spoken both Nationally and Internationally. She jointly led the e-learning programme which won the Institute of IT Training Award for e-learning project of the year in 2003.Ali has a Degree in Nursing Education, is an RNT and has a Masters in Healthcare Management

Claire Westwood has been a nurse for more years than she cares to remember(!) and is still in clinical practice – nursing sick children on a busy acute ward. She has a degree in Health Studies and many post-reg courses under her belt. She has worked as a full-time nurse, a bank nurse, agency nurse, specialist nurse in asthma and as a ward sister.

Claire has had articles published in many nursing journals and websites, including the Nursing Times, Nursing Standard, Pro-nurse, and for the Reader’s Digest. She has featured as a speaker at RCN leadership conferences and various other healthcare events. She is also a trained Life Coach, NLP practitioner and ran her own company, happynurses, for several years – helping nurses to find work that fitted them and their values. Claire produces and ran her own coach training and career coaching courses.  She has a varied CV as a coach, speaker, blogger, internet marketer, webinar leader, actress, singer and networker.


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