Highly Respected Director of Nursing Leaves a Legacy of Compassionate Care

31st March 2023

“Nicki Patterson is an inspirational role model for every Nurse in Northern Ireland.”  The thoughts of the Chief Executive of the South Eastern Trust, Roisin Coulter, as the Executive Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People and Deputy Chief Executive Nicki Patterson retires from the South Eastern HSC Trust after a distinguished nursing career, spanning four decades.

Nicki, who lives in Bangor, trained as a nurse in the 1980’s, taking up a Staff Nurse post in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in 1987.  She worked clinically as a Staff Nurse and Ward Sister during these years, Nicki combined full time work with part time study, completing her diploma and BSc in Nursing and an MSc in Health Services Management.

While working as an Assistant Director of Nursing in the Mater Hospital Trust in 2001, Nicki worked in partnership with the Open University to support the first Pre-Registration Programme in Northern Ireland and has remained a strong advocate of the programme ever since.

In 2003, Nicki moved to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety as a Nursing Officer, working at Government level where she was an integral part of the Chief Nursing Officer’s Team.  In 2009, prior to major health service restructuring in Northern Ireland,  Nicki took up the role of Director of Nursing before being appointed as Nursing Co-Director in the Belfast Trust. During her time in this post she was also the Northern Ireland Registrant Council member on the Nursing and Midwifery Council,  where she undertook a Florence Nightingale Travel Scholarship.

Nicki was appointed to the role of Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People in 2013 and during her time in post, she has played a vital role in shaping Nursing, Primary Care, Older People and Allied Health services across the South Eastern HSC Trust.  Her leadership and dedication has been instrumental, ensuring patients and their care, are at the heart of everything we do.

Acknowledging Nicki’s exceptional commitment, Chief Executive, Roisin Coulter said, “Nicki has devoted her entire career to nursing. She is passionate about providing the highest quality of care for patients. It has been my privilege to work alongside such a respected and compassionate colleague.”

David Robinson, who has been appointed as the Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery and Director of Allied Health Professionals and User Experience added, “I know I have huge shoes to fill. Nicki’s contribution to nursing over the years has been outstanding. Her dedication to the nursing profession has been recognised by many colleagues across Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland and she will be deeply missed.”

As the Trust bade Nicki a very fond fare well she said, “As I retire after a career spanning four decades I have much to reflect on. So much has changed since I walked through the doors of the Royal Victoria Hospital in the 1980’s as an 18yr old student nurse! But what mattered to me then and what was important as I started my journey, still matters to me now and is just as important as I end it.

“Caring for people: be they patients, their families or staff; treating them with respect; helping people to be the best they can be and – Keeping calm and carrying on!

“It’s been a privilege to work in the HSC for my entire career and I thank all of those who have helped and supported me along the way.”