Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Published: 04/07/2002, Volume II2, No. 5812 Page 9

Name: Dr Beverly Malone

Job: General secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Style: 'Formidable' leader and 'an inspirational speaker'.Supporters say she is 'world class'and 'brilliant'.Leading the charge for nurses angered by the load of lucre lobbed at consultants last month - she threatened to walk out of pay modernisation talks in protest.But Dr Bev has attracted plenty of attention for her own remuneration -£200,000 last year, including a rent allowance on a luxury flat.Activists have called for an extraordinary general meeting amid allegations the RCN leader pulled strings to get her mother - also from the US - a quick cataract op on the NHS.Some speak of 'errors of judgement'.A restructuring at RCN headquarters hasn't won friends, nor has attending a Labour party fundraising 'do'the RCN has traditionally been non-partisan.

Background: Christian upbringing in rural Kentucky - her speaking style has been dubbed a blend of 'management guru-speak and Deep South homilies'.Started as a psychiatric nurse.

Was dean and professor at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University's school of nursing from 1986-2000.Elected president of the American Nurses Association for two terms (1996-2000) and became a senior aide to former US president Bill Clinton. Joined RCN last year after much negotiating of pay packages.

Future prospects: Looks strong enough to take the flak from disgruntled activists - if she can deliver decent pay for nurses.But docs beware: she is a doughty champion of professional nursing and equal prestige with the medics.