Eminent nurse leader Dr Peter Carter urged student nurses to strive to be “good role models” in their careers, as he paid tribute to the people who had supported him throughout his nursing journey.
Dr Carter delivered a speech yesterday at the 10th anniversary edition of the Student Nursing Times Awards, which was held in person at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The four UK chief nursing officers selected Dr Carter as the recipient of the prestigious Chief Nursing Officer Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2020 Nursing Times Awards.
Speaking yesterday, he said in receiving this award, he was “so conscious of the tremendous role models that I’ve had over the years from way back as a student nurse”, including “great” ward sisters and charge nurses.
“They got me off onto the right foot, they gave me the support, guidance and inspiration I needed, and it was all done in equal measure and although many of them are no longer with us I still remember the great people that gave me so much,” he said.
He also took the opportunity to thank the chief nursing officers across the UK for the work they had done during the pandemic.
“I don’t believe they’ve had the credit and recognition they deserve for trying to navigate us through what is probably the most challenging time of our era,” he said.
Former Royal College of Nursing boss Dr Carter wished the audience, which included student nurses, mentors, educators and managers, good luck with their careers.
“Many of you will have to recognise you are the future and if your careers are half as enjoyable as mine has been you’re going to be in for a great time,” he added.
He advised student nurses to be “good role models” and to support one another, noting how nursing could be “tough” at times as well as “rewarding”.
“In your careers never forget the privilege, the absolute privilege of the nurse-patient relationship,” Dr Carter added.
“The public put their faith in you. Nurses enjoy huge respect as is demonstrated by successive opinion polls. You are the people that can transform the patient journey and create it to be a positive one.”
He ended his speech with a piece of advice in the form of a Chinese saying, “life is a journey travel it well”, compelling those in the audience to “travel your nursing careers well”.
Dr Carter, who was awarded an OBE in 2006 for his services to the NHS, was the chief executive and general secretary of the RCN from January 2007 to August 2015.
He is currently the chair of Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and an independent healthcare consultant.