I’m sure many of us are deeply saddened by Nina Barnett’s recent passing.

For me, Nina was both a colleague and a friend, I am grateful to have known her, and I hope these few words capture at least some of the meaningful impact that she had for me and others.

I originally connected with Nina during her coaching training some 15 years ago. Subsequently we worked together in the areas of coaching and personalised care. With Nina’s insight, we’ve shared the application of a coaching approach with hundreds of pharmacists and thousands of other health professionals. For the last three years, Nina was a central contributor to an NHS coaching service to support primary care staff through the COVID crisis and beyond. Through this, Nina worked directly with hundreds of frontline health professionals, listening to their challenges, offering emotional support, and encouraging them to keep care for themselves on the agenda.

Nina was an accomplished pharmacist, an inspirational NHS leader, a wonderful educator, a talented academic author, a highly skilled and empathic coach, a loving wife, mother and grandmother, and a very good friend.

When I think of Nina now, I tune into her kindness, wisdom, and genuine warmth. She was a woman of incredible intellect and everyday good sense, that made her approachable and wise.

Some of the warm memories that penetrate my sadness include:

  • A late night drive to Cornwall, six hours of talking, mainly from Nina, to help me stay awake.
  • Nina’s perfectly prepared expresso coffee and famously tasty biscuits, made from figs direct
    from Italy.
  • Nina’s impeccable style, elegant outfits and colour coordination.
  • Nina’s deep concern for others, and how she could best be of service to someone in need

Nina welcomed my family into her home on numerous occasions, where we felt her warm hospitality and pride in her culture and heritage. She was the first colleague to visit me in my new home, still in a mess, but it didn’t matter to Nina and her husband Andre, she was just happy to see me having made a move towards something that I had wanted.

In a way, I think this sums up my experience of Nina. Above all things, she focussed on what would help things move forward, what might improve, and what was the potential in a situation. Nina naturally held that crucial quality in a coach, which is the focus on potential and seeing others’ resourcefulness. I always felt seen and valued by Nina, as I know many others did.

Nina’s lasting professional legacy includes her focus on personalised care, medicines management, health coaching; and the many hundreds of NHS staff she provided coaching for. At the personal level, she leaves hundreds of friends who have been enriched by having shared some of Nina’s precious life, a community that has been made better because of her active participation, and a family that has been nurtured by her love.

Thank you Nina, we are so grateful to have had you in our lives.