A CHIEF nurse for the East Lancashire Hospital Trust has become a Member of the order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her services over more than 40 years.

Christine Douglas (née Pearson), who is Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Nursing at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, was presented with the honour at a ceremony at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospitals on Tuesday, where she has led the nursing team and been a member of the Trust Board for more than eight years.

Christine, who is one of the UKs highest ranking NHS nurses, was joined by colleagues from the Trust, family and friends at the ceremony and received the award from the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire the Rt Hon Lord Shuttleworth.

She said: “When I commenced my nurse training 42 years ago, my goal was to qualify as a registered nurse and provide high-quality care to patients.

“I have continued to focus on this goal for the whole of my career and still do today, but I never once thought I would be thanking my family and colleagues for coming to see me receive an MBE.

“Some have said I’m a leader, but I see it as just doing the job I love and will continue to love for however long I remain a nurse.

"To be recognised for this honour or providing nursing leadership, especially during the pandemic is such a privilege and I am humbled to receive it.”

Mrs Douglas received the MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honour’s list in 2021 but was delayed in receiving it as the entire NHS rallied against the Covid pandemic.

Lord Shuttleworth said: “To present this accolade on behalf of The Queen, not just in a recipient’s workplace, but in Lancashire is a great privilege.

"This is recognition of many years of dedicated service that Chris has given to the NHS, showing a real strength in leadership across the nursing profession.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate her on this well-deserved honour.”

Christine, a motor sport enthusiast and rally car navigator with her partner Keith in her spare time, quoted car pioneer Henry Ford in her speech.

She said: “Henry Ford said great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people, so tonight I accept this MBE on behalf of every nurse and midwife here at the Trust.

"Without them, I would never have achieved the things I have.”

Lord and Lady Shuttleworth were welcomed to the Trust by the chair of the ELHT Board, Professor Eileen Fairhurst, who added: “It is a real privilege to host an investiture within our hospitals and I am extremely proud that it is for Chris.

"Not only is Chris a role model to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, she is valued and respected by colleagues. In addition, she is kind and considerate.

“She has been instrumental in maintaining a really high level of staff morale, even during this pandemic which has been one of the most difficult and frightening times we have ever experienced. Congratulations Chris, this award is thoroughly deserved.”

Mrs Douglas MBE, from Manchester, began as a student nurse day at North Manchester General Hospital, qualifiying as a registered general nurse in 1984.

With a keen interest in patient safety, she completed the Institute of Health Improvement Patient Safety Officer Course in 2009 in Boston USA and took the lead on several patient safety initiatives.

She joined the Board of Directors at ELHT in 2014 after gaining extensive experience in both hospital and community settings, where she successfully held a number of senior leadership roles.

Chris’s passion for ensuring safe, personal and effective care is delivered harm-free and of the highest quality, is something she has carried throughout her career and passed on to many colleagues that she has worked with.