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Spotlight on Professor Nancy Fontaine

Who are you and how are you connected to the Anne Robson Trust?

I am Professor Nancy Fontaine, Chief Nurse of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Professor of Nursing at the University of Essex and Anglia Ruskin University. This is my third Chief Nurse post and my determination is to achieve consistent, outstandingly safe and bespoke care for every patient and family. That every Nurse, Midwife, Allied Health Professional, Pharmacist & Bio-Scientist realises their true potential; achieves their academic and career aspirations; that they do the job they love every day as I am privileged to do. I am privileged to be a Chief Nurse and serve, communities and the profession; equally I feel privileged to be a Patron of the Anne Robson Trust.

What first attracted you to the organisation?

The story of Anne Robson epitomising the experience of so many. When Liz spoke she was so compelling in her personally evocative narrative; the poor end of life care affronted my principle that everyone has the right to outstanding healthcare; whoever and wherever they are treated.

What impact do you feel ART makes? 

Makes patients and families feel safe; brings comfort, peace and companionship at one of the most potentially frightening and lonely times. Brings unity of public and voluntary sectors to deliver a quantum of excellence.

Why do you think its important to talk about death and dying? 

Dying and death are the final part of our care in health; we talk about every milestone, procedure and pathway, and dying is part of these. There is so much myth, fear and anxiety surrounding dying, death and grief that to talk and inform, has to deconstruct the fear and enable tranquillity, peace and acceptance. This will support a better grief for the survivors if we enable a ‘good death’.

on a lighter note…

Who is your inspiration in life and why?

From A leadership perspective: Winston Churchill;

A master of influence; he appealed to the people and genre to bring an aggregated cultural vision to conquer the enemy; equity of language, common values and ideals to unite the people and country, to defend, stand firm and succeed. He used charisma and maintained grounded and authentic as a leader; he epitomises my leadership ethic.

As a Nurse Leader: Edith Cavell;

She was born December 4th, and my birthday is December 3rd; from Norwich; buried in Norwich Cathedral. She demonstrated compassion and care for the wounded regardless of their heritage: equity, humanity, compassion and courage. She was a role model, a teacher, a leader and an icon.

Marmite – love it or hate it?


What your favourite book, TV show or movie?

Books: I am a real bookworm: Tough call between Catcher in the Rye & To Kill a Mockingbird

Favourite Shakespeare: Hamlet & Merchant of Venice

Favourite Films: Shawshank Redemption; Schindler’s List, Dirty Dancing

Best cheesey joke….

The snail joke is my best ever but it too long to type, so…

Why was the mermaid wearing seashells?

Because she grew out of her B-shells


What did the duck say to the bartender?

Put it on my bill