Sue Sutherland OBE has a long association with Bournemouth University having joined the University Board in 2006 before becoming Chair in 2011 and a Pro-Chancellor in May this year.
Her prestigious career in nursing led her to becoming Chief Executive of UK Transplant and formerly Chief Executive of the Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Sue was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to organ donation and transplantation. Today, Bournemouth University is very proud to award Sue Sutherland OBE an Honorary Doctorate in Education.
Sue said receiving the Honorary Doctorate felt very different to receiving the OBE.
“I think it’s really interesting – I actually feel quite nervous as the attention today is a bit on me for the part that I’m going to play and that’s very different to what I’m used to. And I don’t really having attention on me!”
With a long standing association with BU, and having attended many graduations in an official capacity, Sue is in a unique position to give an insight into how they have changed over the years.
“The graduation ceremonies have certainly got bigger and they have certainly got better. I’m not sure we can better them now, I think the graduation ceremonies here are absolutely amazing.
"The best that I’ve ever seen and it’s really interesting when you go down into the hall afterwards, the number of families that come up to you spontaneously to say ‘it’s brilliant’. So I think the university does a really good job, and quite rightly so, because it is a real celebration for those students graduating. It’s fabulous, really fabulous.”
With over forty years working in healthcare, Sue has a number of useful and vital pieces of advice to offer graduates from the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.
“I’m going to tell them a bit about how I got to where I got to, and I’m going to talk to them very much about what you need to do to be successful in your own career. It’s about being yourself, it’s about being bold, about being thoughtful, and it’s about being kind – both to yourself and to other people.
"There are a few messages in there from me about important things that need to happen when you’re working in any environment but particularly in a healthcare environment; you’re working with patients and you’re working with colleagues as well.”
“I think that Bournemouth University selects students very, very well because my experience of the graduates in health and social care is that they’re actually very well developed and very well selected in the first instance.
"So by that by the time they get to graduate, they are very mature individuals, and I’ve been really struck by some of the students that I’ve met by just how mature they are, in their leadership abilities and their ability to understand the importance of patient care and what they need to do.”
What one piece of advice would you give to a graduate who wants to follow your career path?
“You’ve got to be determined; you’ve got to have a big vision for what you want to do. I think the main thing, the recurring theme, is the importance of kindness .
"I don’t think it matters what you do, at what level and sometimes you do have to do difficult things with patients and indeed with members of staff and I think you always have to do it with kindness.”