Tony Smith

Nurse educationist

Tony Smith was a leading nurse educationist at a time of rapid change and made a quiet but substantial and firm contribution to nurse education and practice. He was Chief Executive of the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting from 1990 until it was replaced by the Nurses and Midwives Council in 2002. While at the board he visited every university in England to meet vice-chancellors and discuss any problems that arose when schools of nursing were transferred to universities.

Anthony Patrick Smith, nurse educationist and leader: born London 7 August 1939; Assistant Director of Nurse Education, St Bartholomew's Hospital 1969-75; Director of Nurse Education, Southampton 1975-81; Chief Executive, English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting 1990-2002; CBE 1998; married 1965 Barbara Johnson (one daughter); died Winchester 8 June 2004.

Tony Smith was a leading nurse educationist at a time of rapid change and made a quiet but substantial and firm contribution to nurse education and practice. He was Chief Executive of the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting from 1990 until it was replaced by the Nurses and Midwives Council in 2002. While at the board he visited every university in England to meet vice-chancellors and discuss any problems that arose when schools of nursing were transferred to universities.

Born in 1939, Smith left Latymer School, London, with no O levels. He studied for his degrees while working as a nurse, obtaining them from the Open University and from the Polytechnic of Central London (now Westminster University). In 1998 Southampton University conferred an honorary degree upon him.

Smith took his general nurse training at the North Middlesex Hospital, where he became a charge nurse (the male nurse equivalent of sister). He also trained as a mental nurse at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, where he met and married a fellow student, Barbara Johnson. They formed a nurse-education partnership. When he was appointed Director of Nurse Education at Southampton in 1974, she was appointed senior sister tutor. After he went to the National Board first as Director of Education, she succeeded him as Director at Southampton. Their daughter trained as a mental nurse.

As assistant director of nurse education at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, between 1969 and 1975, Smith worked with the distinguished educationist Dr Winifred Hector. He was always supportive of mental and mental-handicap nurses, and at Southampton had a combined school training for all three fields.

Smith obtained a Florence Nightingale Foundation scholarship in 1971, to study abroad, and thereafter remained active with the foundation, serving on its executive and selection committees and chairing its annual gathering of scholars. He carried the lamp at the foundation's service in Westminster Abbey in 1998 and delivered the Foundation Address in 2001.

Smith was appointed CBE in 1998, for his services to nursing. Although his health was beginning to be poor - he was diagnosed with cancer - he carried on at the English National Board after retirement age, to help with the transition to the new organisation. As a manager he was focused on staff. Never a detached educationist, he retained the "hands on" nurse's concern with people.

He had a wicked sense of humour. His hobbies were "country pursuits", collecting Staffordshire portrait figures - and being a fan of Marilyn Monroe.

Laurence Dopson

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