It was a double celebration for British Army Officer Major Peter Royal who has been at the latest University of Cumbria graduation ceremonies.
He was among 1,000 jubilant graduands whose academic achievements were celebrated in nine different ceremonies at Carlisle Cathedral.
Norwich-born Peter, who has 23 years service in the British Army, has completed his Royal College of Nursing accredited masters in Advanced Clinical Practice, the only full distance learning MSc course in the UK.
Married father-of-three Peter, who lives in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, was also awarded a prestigious ‘Student Innovation in Practice’ prize from the university’s Department for Nursing, Health and Professional Practice.
He recorded an average of 82 per cent throughout his programme, and scored 100 per cent in his dissertation.
Peter, 42, whose Army Nursing career has included deployments to Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, said: “Over the last four years I’ve been studying the course with the University of Cumbria with a view for me to become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the military, which is a relatively new role.”
Peter was able to demonstrate his advanced skills recently in the Middle East during Exercise Saif Seera3 (SS3), a joint exercise between the armed forces of the UK and Oman.
SS3 – the UK’s largest military exercise for 17 years - involved 5,500 UK military personnel and saw Peter and other members of the Joint Medical Group team up with Oman troops.
Leading an Armoured pre-hospital care team, Peter was delivering real life support (Primary Health care and Emergency Care) in remote and austere Omanian desert.
“It is the first time that the military has utilised the advanced practice role, supporting a battleground in exercise,” said Peter, who also holds a regular A&E clinical role with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“Working on the course with the University of Cumbria has been really good. My lifestyle is quite busy so this way of learning has suited me. It is also opening a lot of doors. I’m now going to go for an Advanced Nurse Practitioner role, which is a new opportunity in the military.”
Dr Tilly Reid, advanced practice learning facilitator in the University of Cumbria’s Department of Nursing, Health and Professional Practice said: “Peter was an excellent student through the whole programme.
“His dissertation which was a service evaluation of military nurse practitioners was exceptional.”
The University of Cumbria’s flexible distance learning Advanced Clinical Practice course offers nurses and allied health professionals the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in key areas including health assessment, diagnostic reasoning, clinical decision-making and leadership.