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Pioneering US psychiatric nurse honoured by London university

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A leading US nursing professor has been made an honorary doctor of science by Kingston University and St George’s University of London.

Professor Shirley Smoyak, from the division of continuous education and outreach at Rutgers University, New Jersey, is credited with making significant contributions to the nursing world.

She completed the development of the theoretical background to psychiatric nursing begun by her tutor, the late Dr Hildegard Peplau.

Mary Chambers, Professor of Mental Health Nursing at Kingston University, said: ‘Together they have brought a critical mindset to the profession.

‘Through their teaching style they have given nurses a lot of confidence in their clinical abilities and their research skills,’ she said.

Professor Smoyack has taught courses for almost 50 years at Rutgers, including psychiatric and mental health nursing and health care administration. In 2004, Professor Smoyack was honoured as a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing.

Professor Smoyack said: ‘It signifies that you have passed some kind of ultimate test of your personal and academic credentials beyond your local institution, and in my case, beyond my country of origin.’

Mary Chambers described Professor Smoyack as a ‘star, one of the figureheads of our profession’.

She added: ‘She has boundless energy and enthusiasm for her area of expertise and can explain complex concepts in a way that people can relate to.’

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