Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS trust's chief nurse awarded honorary doctorate by UEL
PUBLISHED: 10:07 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:07 03 December 2019
The chief nurse at the NHS trust which runs Queen's and King George hospitals has been awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the University of East London in recognition of her outstanding service.
During her 38 years with the National Health Service, chief nurse Kathryn Halford OBE has helped pioneer cutting-edge medical treatments, saved victims of the 7/7 bombings in London, met royalty and helped thousands of patients.
Kathryn, who is also the deputy chief executive at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), told students at the University's graduation ceremony on November 29 at ExCeL London to seize every opportunity that arises.
She said it was important they enjoy their jobs and look for ways to learn and improve.
She told the graduates: "Throughout your career you will learn lots of different things - some good and some not so good.
"My career had led me to meet lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds and I have learnt from them all. But in all careers, support from family and friends is vital.
"My advice is to look after each other; consider the impact you are having on others; and look forward to what is coming next."
Kathryn also spoke about her eventful career, both the light and the dark.
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She said: "I've dealt with the aftermath of a terrorist attack; cared for some of the UK's first AIDS and HIV patients; and spent a night as the only woman in a monastery."
The chief nurse has seen many harrowing situations.
She recalled: "I was challenged to summon up all my skills on the 7th of July 2005 when I was in charge of Great Ormond Street's response to the London Bombings.
"During that terrible day, I set up an intensive care unit in the dining room and a temporary morgue elsewhere in the hospital.
"I never ever thought I would have to deal with such a dreadful situation but I discovered that I could harness all that I had learnt over the years and respond appropriately."
Kathryn has been BHRUT's chief nurse since 2016. In 2018, she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to nursing.
She has also helped the University of East London set up a registered nursing course, an offering which was not previously available in north-east London.
As well as that, Kathryn also created an award-winning senior intern scheme at BHRUT, providing new nurses with mentoring and support from veteran employees.
This has resulted in a reduction in the rate at which newly qualified people leave the trust.