Helping others is in Belinda’s nature

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WHEN Belinda Dewar was a little girl, her father told her when she grew up, she needed a career that would allow her to “make a difference to people’s lives.”

Now, as a Professor of Practice Improvement at the University of the West of Scotland’s Institute for Care and Practice Improvement, the Edinburgh-born nurse has been named in the Nursing Times Leaders List for 2015.

Belinda Smith, 55, is the daughter of the late Joan Smith, and renowned Scottish playwright W Gordon Smith – most famously known for his many plays including the one man show, Jock, made famous by Russell Hunter.

She was brought up on Great King Street and was a pupil at Flora Stevenson Primary School, before moving to Broughton High School.

As a teenager, Belinda recalled being unsure of what career path she should follow but knew she enjoyed helping others.

She said: “I’m laughing as I remember having a conversation with my father when I was still at school about what I wanted to do.

“He told me I needed something that makes a difference to people’s lives because that is what I loved to do – he was the one that prompted me to go into nursing.”

Belinda studied nursing at Queen Margaret University before moving to London in 1981 to complete her masters degree.

She moved down south with her childhood sweetheart, Alan Dewar, whom she later married after they returned to Edinburgh in 1991.

The couple now have three children, Jessica, 28, Kirstin, 26, and Rory, 22, who have all moved on from the city.

Belinda, who lives on Windsor Street at the top of Leith Walk, started out her career at the Astley Ainslie Hospital as a research nurse, before moving on to the role of lecturer at Queen Margaret University in 1995.

In 2006, she became the first nurse consultant to work for the Care Inspectorate in Scotland, and shortly afterwards became the director of My Home Life, Scotland, which is a national movement to improve the lives of people working, visiting, dying and living in care homes across the country.

Now as a Professor of Practice Improvement, she has been placed on the Nursing Times Leaders list for this year.

Belinda said: “I am delighted to be named in the Nursing Times Leaders list. This is a huge honour and I am extremely proud, and flattered, to be recognised in this way.”

The Nursing Times announced its list of the country’s most inspirational nursing leaders in 2015 at a reception in London.

The 48 individuals come from all aspects of the nursing profession including frontline patient care, management, research and academia, national organisations and charities.