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Nursing leader awarded Honorary Degree at Middlesex University

Yvonne Coghill awarded an Honorary Degree at MDX’s Winter Graduation after a career in nursing spanning over 40 years

Yvonne Coghill’s Award from Middlesex follows a long list of accolades. In 2012 she was voted by NHS colleagues as one of the top 50 most inspirational women, one of the top 50 most inspirational nurse leaders and one of the top 50 BME pioneers. In December 2017 she was included in the Health Service Journal’s top 100 influential leaders list.

A nurse for thirty-eight years and having held a range of NHS operational and strategic leadership posts since 1986, Yvonne is now Director for Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England and Professor of Primary Care and Head of Child Health at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

She is a member of the equality and diversity council and faculty member at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the United States where she has helped develop their inclusion strategy. Yvonne has delivered lectures on inclusion and diversity at Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She continues to work closely with world expert on health and race Professor D. Williams, of Harvard University School of Public Health.

In 2010 Yvonne was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare. This year has seen further tributes with Yvonne awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing, a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list, an honorary fellowship from Kings College University and an honorary doctorate from Buckinghamshire University, and voted one of the top 70 most inspirational nurses in the NHS over the past 70 years.

In her graduation ceremony speech, she paid tribute to her mother, a member of the Windrush Generation who worked as a nursing auxiliary.

"When I was very young, my mother used to take me to the hospital with her and I saw the work of wonderful nurses, caring for the most vulnerable and sick and elderly in our society", she said.

"I never wanted to be anything other than a nurse. I’m so proud to be a nurse, it is without a doubt the best profession in the world, make no mistake."

"All of us are instrumental in making the NHS the very, very best organisation for healthcare in the world. We need to work much closer together, we need to understand each other better, in order for the NHS to prevail".

“It is a real honour and privilege for me to receive this Award today. This Award doesn’t only belong to me, but to my family and the hundreds of talented and inspirational people I have got to know and have worked with over many years. Grateful and heartfelt thanks to the Vice Chancellor and colleagues at Middlesex University for conferring such a prestigious honour on me.”
Yvonne Coghill

Commenting on Yvonne’s Honorary Doctorate, Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, said:

“I am delighted to be part of today’s ceremony and congratulate Yvonne on her incredible accomplishments to nursing, inclusion and diversity.”

Learn more about Nursing at Middlesex.

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