Leading paramedic executive receives honorary accolade from RGU

Tuesday 02 July 2024

Tracy Nicholls with her Honorary Degree
Tracy Nicholls, Chief Executive of The College of Paramedics at the forefront of the development of the profession, has been awarded an Honorary Degree from Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Her career spans almost 30 years and began in the mid-1990s with the then Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance Service where she worked on patient transport services before progressing to the role of technician and then paramedic.

Tracy moved into several leadership roles with the now East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust before being appointed Chief Executive of The College of Paramedics in 2019, where she led the paramedic profession as it transitioned from a traditionally ‘blue collar’ profession reached through vocational training, to a degree-entry profession.

Professor Steve Olivier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “Tracy has played a significant role in promoting and strengthening the paramedic profession across the UK. It is a versatile, multifaceted and diverse profession which has grown exponentially in the last decade. Her vision at the top of a major professional body within our health sector has proved crucial, particularly as the organisation and its frontline members navigated the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

“Her career has focused on championing, supporting and improving lives, and she has been an excellent educator and mentor to many who have joined the profession. It is a real honour for the University to be able to recognise a leader who inspires our paramedics and who has been a beacon for developing the profession as it has evolved in multidisciplinary ways.”

Tracy was appointed ambulance station manager at Luton in 2001 three years after becoming a paramedic.  She then led the East of England Ambulance Service’s training department before holding down other leadership roles. 

Throughout Tracy’s professional working life, she has been an active and dedicated member of the College of Paramedics. Her desire to promote and strengthen the paramedic profession across the UK made her a natural choice to become the organisation’s new Chief Executive in 2019. Since then, she has managed to propel the College of Paramedics to even greater heights, despite years of turbulence within the healthcare system, brought about by the pandemic.

Under Tracy’s stewardship, the College of Paramedics has grown exponentially and now has more than 21,000 members. Since becoming Chief Executive, Tracy has helped raise the profile of the organisation through her regular media appearances where she advocates for members on a wide variety of subjects. In addition, she has been the driving force as the College seeks to gain Royal Charter status.

In 2023, Tracy was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to the paramedic profession.

She was recognised with a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) award at P&J Live, Aberdeen on Tuesday 02 July.

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