Sue Johnson's commendation video transcript

Sue Johnson

PROFESSOR WARREN MANNING: Chancellor, Pro Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff, the Mayor of High Peak, honoured guests, family, friends and the graduands from the school of Allied Health and Social Care and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, it gives me great pleasure to be presenting today Sue Johnson for the award of Honorary Master of the University.

Sue is a diagnostic radiographer with 35 years' experience. She spent her 28-year clinical career in various roles at Derby Hospitals and currently works as a Professional Officer in Clinical Imaging at the Society of Radiographers.

Sue trained at the Derbyshire School of Radiography in the 1980s (which later became the School of Radiography within the University of Derby). She gained her top-up Healthcare degree at the University and was amongst the first students to graduate from the institution in its very early days.

She worked in a wide range of roles during her clinical career, moving from film-based imaging to digital imaging and AI systems and eventually became Clinical Imaging Manager at the new Derby Hospital where she had responsibility for the Breast Unit alongside other areas of the large imaging department.

Throughout her career, Sue has been an enthusiastic supporter of radiographic professional development, particularly support and assistant workers, and her work via the Society of Radiographers has been integral to the widening participation agenda in the NHS. She became president of the Society for a year in 2011 and moved to her employment as a professional officer at the Society in 2014.

She currently leads the work for breast imaging, nuclear medicine, and medicines management as well as for the support and assistant practitioner workforce across radiography, enabling them to maximize their contributions to patient care.

Sue has been a key figure in student education. As well as lecturing at the University, she has also worked with us and Health Education England to ensure that all support workers in radiography (and other allied health professions) have access to appropriate education and training to allow them to support service delivery in new and innovative ways. She helped the University develop a bridging route from the foundation degree to the Diagnostic Radiography degree programme and provided essential support and advice for the development of the new degree apprenticeship in Diagnostic Radiography.

Sue is well known in the radiography and wider allied health professions community for advocacy and innovation, seeking to ensure there is a clear and achievable career pathway available to those who may not see higher education as within their grasp.

She's celebrating here today with her husband Stephen, mum Brenda, sister Linda, sister-in-law Helen, and brother-in-law Tony.

Chancellor, in recognition of a contribution to radiography and her achievements in widening participation in the profession, we are delighted to award Sue Johnson the honorary degree of Master of the University.

SUE JOHNSON: I'm looking around for that woman!

Chancellor, Pro Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Lieutenant, High Sheriff, the Mayor of High Peak, honoured guests, family, friends and the graduands from the school of Allied Health and the School of Nursing and Midwifery, thank you for inviting me to this ceremony and confirming the award.

Firstly, I really would like to express how grateful I am and honoured to be with you today. It has been such a delight to see the sense of achievement and pride on the faces of the family, and of the graduates, and of the lecturers, as you come forward for your awards. You've worked through some of the most challenging times to get to this point, so well done.

I've spent hours thinking, 'What do I say, what are my reflections, how on Earth did I receive this award?'. I'm not sure how appropriate it is to say, but my voice recognition software really wants me to be a Master of the Universe!

I could talk for hours about my reflections, but only have a few minutes to synthesize my thinking and I have to say it does come down to one word: opportunity. The opportunity to make a difference. Opportunities offered and supported by the University of Derby. Opportunities provided by my previous and long-time employer, the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, which used to be called when I first joined simply the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. And opportunities through my professional body, the Society of Radiographers, where I now consider it a real privilege to work.

Did I see those opportunities coming 35 years ago? Oh no. Could I be a better example of career planning? Oh yes. My method has been to grasp the opportunity and then negotiate how to make it work. Have I sought out or tried to create opportunities following up on leads and openings for myself and for others? Oh yes, and I will continue to do so.

Healthcare is a team affair in a complex environment where people turn up every day to do good things. We can miss opportunities because we think they aren't aimed at us, or we think somebody else is taking them. Our patients, that's us, need us to look out for and embrace opportunities for their benefit.

So, my words to you today are quite simple, please don't sit on your hands when opportunity knocks, try not to stand on the toes of too many others as they are your network of support, and they will help you to achieve. When you succeed, ensure that your patients benefit.

Finally, and in the grand tradition of all awards ceremonies, I must offer my thanks and recognition for the part that my family and friends have played in my professional life. Far too many people to name individually, however it would be really remiss for me not to mention my husband of 32 years, Steve, who keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground yet continues to surprise and inspire me with his flashes of insight and genius when I can't see the way forward. And my immediate family, my mum, and my sister Linda, and my late dad, who've been there as a constant supportive presence. Dad too was a great leveller, calling me an ‘administrator’ when I became a manager, but hugely influential in my values of fair play and equity and ever present in my thoughts.

As you leave here today hold on to these feelings of happiness, commit them to your memory and commit to your memory the network of support surrounding you and willingly accept the challenges. And embrace the opportunities that come your way.

Thank you once again to one and all.

Sue Johnson's commendation video

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