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RCN Honorary Fellowships

RCN Honorary Fellowships are awarded to nurses registered outside the UK of international repute and distinction, or to other individuals who have had a significant impact on nursing and health care. This year, RCN Honorary Fellowships were awarded to:

Dr Steve Boorman

An academic, medical practitioner and business leader, Dr Steve Boorman has pushed forward the frontiers of health working environments for employees in both the private and public sectors.

In his role as occupational health physician to the Royal Mail he was instrumental in developing health and safety strategies that resulted in a significant reduction in work-related ill health and absenteeism. The work he has led at the Royal Mail has garnered widespread recognition and a litany of awards – including the Business in Community’s Example of Excellence (Healthy Workplace) Award 2009 and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ prestigious Astor Trophy.

Having published widely on employee support practices for large organisations and successfully established workforce approaches in the arenas of health, safety, environment, social responsibility, governance and reporting arrangements, Dr Boorman was approached by the Department of Health to undertake a review of the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce.

His 2009 independent review, now recognised as one of the most important undertakings for the mutual benefit of staff and patients across the NHS, highlighted major failings within the NHS in relation to the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of health care workers and how these in turn impact on patient care.

His review analysed evidence relating to health and wellbeing across the NHS and demonstrated the links to productivity, efficiency and patient experience. His findings have had a significant impact, and the Department of Health is now taking action to improve the health and wellbeing of the NHS workforce.

Through his membership of the NHS Wellbeing Innovation and Scrutiny Group, and his involvement in occupational health policy development, Dr Boorman continues to play a vital role in the ongoing work to improve NHS workforce health and wellbeing.

Baroness Susan Masham

As an active cross bench member of the House of Lords, Baroness Masham tirelessly promotes and supports a range of health care issues – in particular those relating to disability, and health and penal reform.

As a member of a number of All Party Parliamentary Groups – including the Associate Parliamentary Health Group, Men’s Health and Prison Health, and the Parliamentary Select Committee on HIV and Aids – she works unstintingly to raise the profile of health issues within Parliament and to speak on behalf of health service users and those working within the NHS.

Having led debates on spinal injuries specialist nursing, written articles on specialist care, and called for continued investment in specialist nursing across numerous health care specialisms, Baroness Masham has been one of nursing’s most vocal advocates.

In addition to her commitments within the House of Lords, Baroness Masham has taken on the role of president or vice president on behalf of a great many charitable organisations – including the Spinal Injuries Association, Action for Dysphasic Adults, British Sports Association for the Disabled, Haemophilia Society, East Kidney Association and Riding for the Disabled.

Always willing to speak up for noble nursing causes, and a vocal champion for the nursing family, Baroness Masham makes an extraordinary contribution to public life. Held in high respect by colleagues in the House of Lords, she is deemed a valuable asset to the work of the House and uses every opportunity to debate health care issues – especially for patients with long-term conditions.

Professor Shirley Smoyak

A psychiatric nurse, health care sociologist, and a member of the Rutgers University College of Nursing, in her 50 years of teaching Professor Smoyak has delivered courses in mental health and illness, psychiatric and mental health nursing, and family dynamics, as well as health and qualitative research methods.

A highly respected researcher in the field of mental health, her drive to ‘get the job done’ has seen her generate vibrant networks that attract world-class teams of multi-disciplinary researchers. Throughout her long research career she has frequently relished being one of the first to tackle a number of contentious topics. This tenacity saw her become one of the first nurses to focus on the role and needs of families caring for people with an experience of mental illness, and a leading authority on how psychiatric patients are kept in hospitals beyond the required discharge date. More recent research projects include an assessment of the role of public health nurses, and the criminal and clinical perspectives of stalking.

Her vast body of publications and paper have brought Professor Smoyak to the attention of the international mental health nursing fraternity. She is also editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services (JPN) – the only monthly journal serving psychiatric nurses in clinical practice in the United States and around the world.

From her ground breaking programme of workshops on group and individual therapy for hospitalised patients delivered to practicing staff nurses in state and psychiatric hospitals in the 1960s - which advanced the skills, knowledge and professionalism of psychiatric nurses in the US and beyond - to her pioneering work on nurse-patient interaction, Professor Smoyak’s teaching, research and scholarship have helped to shape all aspects of psychiatric and mental health nursing worldwide.