OBE honour for USW nursing professor

Ruth Northway. Professor of Learning Disability Nursing. OBE. June 2016. Neil Gibson

Professor Ruth Northway


Professor Ruth Northway of the University of South Wales (USW) has been given an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in recognition of her services to learning disability nursing.

Prof Northway has been Professor of Learning Disability Nursing at USW for the past 13 years, which includes leading the Unit for Development in Intellectual Disabilities. She also teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate courses for learning disability nurses, and those with other fields of practice, while also supervising a number of PhD students.

Prior to moving into education, Prof Northway worked with people with learning disabilities in a range of residential and community settings in both England and Wales. She has been a learning disability nurse for 37 years.

Her research interests lie in the health needs of people with learning disabilities and in safeguarding people from abuse. Her PhD study used a participatory research approach, and she has since undertaken a number of studies, working with people who use services, to develop and undertake research. She has published widely in relation to participatory research and in the field of learning disabilities.

Along with a colleague she has also written a textbook for nurses relating to safeguarding adults - a second edition is currently in preparation. She is an advisory editor for a key text for undergraduate nurses - The Essentials of Nursing Practice – for which she has written or co-written four chapters.

She is Editor of the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, Chair of the Royal College of Nursing Research Society Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Welsh Government Learning Disability Advisory Group.

She also chairs the All Wales Implementation Group for Strengthening the Commitment (the UK Learning Disability Nursing Strategy) and is taking a UK lead for the research-related recommendations of this strategy.

As part of this area of work she has been involved in establishing social media forums for the sharing of information regarding learning disability nursing research and in taking the lead on the development of a position paper regarding learning disability nursing research. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

“It is a privilege both to receive this honour and to be a learning disability nurse. I hope that it will help to raise awareness of this field of nursing and the great work undertaken by so many learning disability nurses,” said Prof Northway.

“I am lucky to have worked with so many people with learning disabilities, their families and supporters, as well as colleagues in a range of professions. I continue to learn from them and hope that we can go on working together to enhance the lives of people with learning disabilities.

“This is also an honour for my colleagues in USW, both in the School of Care Sciences and across the whole university, who are leaders in their respective fields and who do such important work across a wide range of disciplines.” 

Professor Julie Lydon, USW’s Vice-Chancellor, added: “Ruth is a true leader who not only understands her subject in-depth, but who has the skills and experience to be able to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of nurses.

“The University is incredibly proud to have her as a key member of staff, and we’re delighted that her excellence has been recognised with this OBE.

“USW exists to give our students the right skills to get employment when they leave us, and having people of Ruth’s undoubted talents among the staff ensures that we can do just that.”


Study Learning Disability Nursing at USW

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