Rachel Kenna

UCD Alumni Award in Health and Agricultural Sciences 2023

BSc (Nursing Mangt) 2003

Rachel Kenna is the Government Chief Nursing Officer in Ireland. She is a Registered Childrens and General Nurse (RCN/RGN) and has extensive clinical and managerial experience spanning 30 years both in Ireland and the UK.
Rachel has worked as a Deputy Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health since 2018 and her primary area of responsibility was nursing policy in the area of patient systems and clinical governance. Rachel previously held the Director of Nursing post in Ireland’s largest Children’s hospital, Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin.

Rachel has a real interest in Nursing and Midwifery policy but also in wider health policy and is educated in a wide range of areas to support this. She graduated with a BSc in Nursing Management from UCD, and Rachel’s other educational qualifications includes a Higher Diploma in Professional Practice, critical care, Leadership, Quality in Healthcare and a Diploma in Human Rights and Equality and a Professional Diploma in Governance. Rachel was selected as a Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholar in 2021.

Through the Chief Nurse’s role, Rachel has developed and implemented nursing and midwifery policy, including being part of the team that developed the Expert Review on Nursing and Midwifery which informs the development of the professions over the next decade. In addition, Rachel was instrumental in facilitating the role out of the vaccination programme during the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of population health screening policy. In addition, under the Chief Nurse’s leadership, policies related to safe staffing and advanced practice have been implemented nationally. Rachel Kenna’s portfolio also includes patient safety policy and planning and is responsible for guidance, audit and supporting legislation in this area. Under Rachel Kenna’s leadership, she has developed a strategic workforce plan that informs the roll out of Sláintecare. Rachel is also a member of the Five Nations’ Chief Nurses’ Working Group (Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland).