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Globally influential figure in dementia care joins York St John University 

Published: 12 November 2021

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Professor David Sheard

Visiting Professor David Sheard is credited with "revolutionising the culture of care nationally and internationally.”  

One of the most internationally renowned experts in dementia care is joining York St John University. The School of Science, Technology and Health is delighted to announce that David Sheard has been awarded a Visiting Professorship. He becomes a Professor of Emotional Intelligence in Care. 

An internationally respected author, film maker and motivational speaker, David Sheard has won multiple international awards for his work on establishing a revolutionary model of dementia care. His person centred ethos has challenged accepted modes of care and brought about positive change around the world.   

Professor Sheard worked for 14 years as a social worker in hospital and community settings, specialising in dementia care and mental health. He left the NHS to set up Dementia Care Matters and was the Founder and CEO for 23 years, up to 2017.  

He became a global pioneer and world leader in evidencing culture change, focused on improving quality of life for people living with dementia and promoting personhood. Dementia Care Matters developed and accredited Butterfly Homes, which pioneered culture change in dementia care.   

In 2014 Prof Sheard was awarded the title of Care Personality of the Year at the National Care Awards UK. The judging panel commented “David’s beliefs, values, boundless energy and passion have driven changes that to many were only a dream. His herculean effort has revolutionised the culture of care nationally and internationally.”  

He previously worked for over a decade with the Alzheimer’s Society to embed person centred dementia care within their care services. His service evaluation work has been undertaken in NHS Trusts, Social Services, Voluntary and Independent Sector providers. He has worked to ensure inclusion of people’s lived experience in their care, and helped to design dementia care new builds and interiors. David in particular works on increasing person-centred leadership and more recently during the pandemic research on the impact of vulnerability.  

Prof Sheard said: “I am honoured to be joining the community at York St John as a Visiting Professor. 

The pandemic has awakened in all of us our closeness to vulnerability and has led to the heightening of our emotions at work and in society. I am passionate about the increased need for nous and the application of greater emotional intelligence in care services. 

It is exciting to be offered the opportunity to influence the next generation through the University’s School of Science, Technology and Health. In particular I look forward to supporting the new BSc in Nursing with its leading-edge human emphasis on whole person-centred nursing. 

The future of our NHS and Social Care services is really dependent on valuing and supporting staffs emotional labour at work - truly connecting to people really matters.” 

Head of School of Science, Technology and Health at York St John University, Dr Rob Sanders said: “I’m delighted that David will be bringing his unparalleled experience and boundless enthusiasm to our school. His focus on emotional intelligence in care sits perfectly with the compassionate and person-centred ethos of our Nursing and Allied Health courses specifically, and with the University’s commitment to social justice more broadly.  

At a time when it’s so important to recognise and support the valuable contribution of health and social care workers, David’s appointment will enthuse our students and colleagues, and further energise their commitment to people with care needs within the communities we serve.”   

Prof Sheard will be giving his inaugural lecture “Valuing nous - injecting health and social care with a booster of emotional intelligence” at 6pm on Tuesday 7 December 2021. The event will take place in York St John Creative Centre and also be livestreamed. Further details and booking via our Events page.

Professor David Sheard will be working with a number of our Nursing and Allied Health courses:  

 BSc Nursing (Adult)

 BSc Nursing (Mental Health)

 BSc Occupational Therapy

 BSc Physiotherapy

 MSc Occupational Therapy

 MSc Physiotherapy

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