Sir Jonathan Asbridge has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in nursing, rising through the ranks to reach the pinnacle of his profession, as Chief Nurse at Barts and The London NHS Trust, and Inaugural President of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Sir Jonathan’s first taste of nursing was as a cadet with the St John’s Ambulance Service in Cardiff, an experience that motivated him to seek a place at the Nightingale School at St Thomas’ Hospital.
Whilst his talent, dedication and ambition were clear from the very start, the young trainee nurse had to overcome strong resistance from within his own family. Indeed, he once claimed to have “fought his parents tooth and nail” over his decision to pursue a career in nursing. But one suspects that, had they been able to foresee the enormous impact he was to have on his chosen profession, they may have relented.
After qualifying as a State Registered Nurse at St. Thomas’, Sir Jonathan gained his Diploma in Nursing at Swansea University, and was appointed Night Charge at the city’s Singleton Hospital. He was soon promoted to Charge Nurse in Critical Care, and later to the role of In-patient Manager.
From there, his career progressed quickly. In 1989, Sir Jonathan moved to Addenbrooke’s, taking on the position of General Manager, then later, that of Director of Clinical Care Service – his first executive role.
In 1993, Sir Jonathan was appointed Director of Nursing with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals. And in 1997 he became Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive with Barts and The London NHS Trust, where he would spend the next 6 years, including a 12-month spell as interim Chief Executive.
It was during his time at Barts that Sir Jonathan was appointed inaugural president of The Nursing and Midwifery Council, where he was to play a critical role in defining the strategic vision of the nursing profession’s regulatory body.
From 2003, he combined his NMC responsibilities with the role of National Clinical Director for Emergency Care, working alongside Sir George Alberti to redesign and drive improvement in emergency care across England.
In 2006, he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to the NHS and Nursing - just recognition for his devotion to raising standards of patient care throughout a 35-year career.
With a background firmly rooted in practice, Sir Jonathan has brought his extensive front-line experience to his diverse executive roles, ensuring policy decisions are informed by sound practical knowledge.
Sir Jonathan has served as trusted advisor to Government, and as Chair of the Government’s review of General Intensive Care.
Today, he serves as President and Chairman of Council at the European Society for Person-Centred Healthcare. He is Non-Executive Director of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Senior Nursing Editor of the Journal of Clinical Evaluation in Practice.
Sir Jonathan is also Clinical Director of Healthcare at Home, a leading provider of acute care in the home, which encompasses Sir Jonathan’s passion for innovation and excellence in nursing care. One of the first sites for such work is at Addenbrookes Hospital, bringing Jonathan full circle, back to his roots.
By recognising Sir Jonathan’s achievements and his close affinity with our region, we have the opportunity to build closer links between our University and the Nursing community, and to promote greater collaboration in our research into workforce and compassionate care.
Find out more: