Nursing union leader Dr Peter Carter was awarded an honorary doctorate today from Edge Hill University for his dedication to the profession.
Described as being a “compelling role model for nurses of all generations,” the General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) was praised for giving a lifetime of service to nursing delivered with infectious enthusiasm, vigour and commitment to public service.
His honorary, which was given for his extensive knowledge and experience of the nursing profession and his close links with the University, was conferred in a ceremony on the Ormskirk campus on 19th July.
On accepting his award, he said: “I would like to thank Edge Hill University for conferring this award on me, I really will cherish it.
“I’ve developed a relationship with the University over the past few years and it is an Institution to be proud of. The Education students receive here is second to none.”
With a membership of 400,000 nurses, midwives, health visitors, nursing students, cadets and health care support workers, the RCN is the voice of nursing across the UK and the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. Their aim is to think and act as part of the global community.
Peter began his career training to be a mental health nurse at Hill End Hospital in St Albans more than 40 years ago, where he received his RGN. He has held a number of clinical and managerial posts in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and London and spent almost 12 years as the Chief Executive of the Central and North West London Mental Health NHS Trust, one of the largest mental health trusts in the UK, before moving to the RCN in 2007, where he has led them through a number of important milestones.
Highlighting the challenges that currently face nursing and the NHS is facing, he said: “Despite all the pressures on and within the NHS, nursing and nurses still enjoy enormous respect from the public. Those graduating today from the University will still go on to have incredibly satisfying and rewarding careers in the profession.”
Peter was awarded the OBE for services to the NHS in the 2006 New Year’s Honours List. He also played a pivotal role in developing modern mental health services and in recognition of this achievement Peter received the President’s Medal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In 2010 Peter assumed the position of Honorary Colonel to 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital in Cardiff. The hospital deployed a formed unit on operations in 2008 to Afghanistan and many of its personnel have also seen active service on operations in the Balkans and Iraq. Peter is a keen supporter of military nursing and has hosted tri-service events at Cavendish Square.
Talking about this work he said: “I’ve visited nurses working in Afghanistan and Basra and witnessed first-hand the tremendous work they are doing caring for and treating our injured service personnel.”
During his distinguished career Peter has been involved on many influential committees and has given extensive evidence to parliamentary committees. He has served as a member of the Prime Minister’s Commission for Nursing on the Willis Review of the Future of Nurse Education and Crown Commissioner of Non-Medical Prescribers.
Offering advice to students about to embark on a career in nursing, he said: “You won’t be without daily stresses and strains, but my advice to you would be to develop good support mechanisms; rely on your colleagues and help each other.
“Never forget the privilege of the nurse/patient relationship. People are entrusting you with their care, which is both an honour and a huge responsibility.”