A woman who cared for her terminally ill mother, and used her experiences to help nurses of the future, has been awarded an honorary degree from Bucks New University.

Angie Camden, from Stokenchurch, received an honorary Master of Science from the university, which has a campus in High Wycombe, at a graduation ceremony last Friday (September 8).

Ms Camden is the co-ordinator of Independent Voices, an organisation which is made up of volunteers who share their experiences and help shape the education of healthcare students.

That could mean being part of interview panels for prospective students, helping develop the curriculum or giving talks to build students’ understanding of conditions from both patients’ and carers’ perspectives.

Speaking about the honorary degree, Ms Camden said: “I helped care for my husband who has mental health issues and my mother who was at that time terminally ill.

“Although I’d experienced tough times, I realised that my experiences could help influence future outcomes for others and make a positive difference.

“I can’t begin to tell you how astonished and delighted I was to be told I was receiving the honorary.”

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, which was held at Wycombe Swan, she told graduates: “Virtually all of us at some time in our lives need the help and support of a nurse.

“Clearly a degree from a good University like Bucks shows that you have learned the theory behind the role.

“I hope that our group has helped you with the compassionate side of your role that you don’t find in text books.

“We have opened our hearts and our lives to you, sharing our experiences and supporting each other as we help you on your journey.”

Angie has worked as a volunteer with the university for eight years during which time the Independent Voices organisation has grown and developed.

University bosses said it is now an integral part of its pre-registration nursing curriculum.

Sue West, dean of the faculty for society and health, said: “Angie is so deserving of this honour.

“She has made a substantial contribution to the university over the years and her input has been invaluable in enabling the university to enhance student learning, bringing service users’ stories and experience of health care to life in the curriculum.”