Media release: University recognises contribution to nursing provision in the Highlands and Islands

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THE University of the Highlands and Islands has awarded the title of professor to a leading nurse academic.

Professor Annetta Smith has been awarded a personal chair (professorship) in recognition of her expertise in nursing leadership and related research in health service delivery and access; remote and rural healthcare; sensory impairment and nursing education.

Professor Smith has been head of the department of nursing at the University of Highlands and Islands since August 2017. The department has campuses in Inverness and Stornoway. Professor Smith works between both sites, with her main home in Stornoway. The award of chair was made to Professor Smith before International Nurses Day, taking place on Saturday 12 May. International Nurses Day is an annual event which marks the contributions nurses make to society.

Professor Smith began her professional career in 1982 as a staff nurse at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, before taking a teaching post in the Highland and Western Isles College of Nursing and Midwifery in 1987. She went on to hold a range of positions at the University of Stirling, including head of health sciences, and led undergraduate and postgraduate nursing programmes. After achieving her teaching qualification in 1989, she completed degrees in social sciences and in education before gaining her PhD in 2008. Professor Smith has developed international links and is involved in both teaching and research collaborations.

The university’s principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Mulholland, said: “The title of professor is the highest level of academic achievement which can be awarded. It is reserved for individuals who are recognised as leaders in their field and have demonstrated excellence in their work. Professor Smith has developed a significant leadership role over her career. Her research and teaching aspires to develop nursing provision in the Highlands and Islands and serve our region by addressing the need for nursing education provision for students in our community.”

Speaking about her new title, Professor Smith said: “I am delighted to have been awarded a professorship at the University of Highland and Islands. As head of the nursing department in the university, I am keen to see the expansion of innovative, high quality education and research for nurses and midwives throughout the region recognised locally, nationally and internationally.”

Professor Smith will be presenting her inaugural professorial lecture with her colleague, Professor Gill Hubbard, director of research in the department of nursing at the University of the Highlands and Islands, on Tuesday 26 June at the Centre for Health Science in Inverness. More information can be found at


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