Beverley Malone, the new general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, has fought her way to the top of her profession - and she intends to keep on fighting for nurses.
She is not only a former president of the American Nurses Association but also a respected academic. She is expected to take a lively interest in nurses' education.
A divorced mother of two, Dr Malone comes from a poor family in Kentucky. She built up an impressive academic record before becoming a key figure behind Hillary Clinton's health reforms.
Starting in 1970, she was awarded a bachelors degree in nursing from the University of Cincinnati. She went on to take a masters degree in adult psychiatric nursing at Rutgers University, New Jersey. During this time, Hildegard Peplau, a pioneer of psychiatric nursing in the United States, was chair of her department.
Between 1973 and 1986, Dr Malone worked in the University of Cincinnati's University Hospital - combining a hands-on nursing role with a teaching role in a way that will be familiar to nursing academics in the United Kingdom. During this time she did a doctorate in clinical psychology at the university. In 1986, she moved to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was dean and professor of the School of Nursing, as well as interim vice-chancellor in 1994.
More recently, she was deputy assistant secretary for health at the department of health and human services in Washington.
She came to the UK because she wanted overseas experience and was excited by the job. She has distanced herself from the US's insurance-based healthcare and has said that the right to free treatment must be protected. She has made it clear she thinks nurses are underpaid and that this year's pay award is too low. Her salary is £99,000, compared with £26,290 for a sister.
People is edited by Alison Goddard and researched by Lynne Williams.
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