Queens Nurses: recognising special nurses

Attendees at the Hospice UK 2015 conference in Liverpool heard from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) which was founded in 1927. The NGS has supported Hospice UK (formerly Help the Hospices) since 1996, donating over £2.9 million for hospice care. The scheme supports Innovation Awards for hospice care. The NGS has a special relationship with The Queen’s Nursing Institute as this was the first charity from which the NGS was formed in 1927. 

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) was founded in 1887 with a grant of £70,000 by Queen Victoria from the Women’s Jubilee Fund. A Royal Charter in 1889 named it ‘Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses’ and gave it the objectives of providing the ‘training, support, maintenance and supply’ of nurses for the sick poor, as well as establishing training homes, supervising centres, co-operating with other bodies and establishing branches as necessary. The QNI is the only charity with an exclusive focus on the whole range of patient care in the community and offers a powerful combination of knowledge, skills and approaches to help community nurses achieve greater impact for the benefit of patients. 

A Queen’s Nurse (QN) is a nurse who works in the community and is dedicated to excellent patient care. Among the many benefits of being a QN, the Queen’s Nursing Institute provides opportunities for networking and sharing best practice with other like-minded community nurses. The QN title formally recognises the commitment of a nurse to high quality, patient-centred care, and many QNs report that the title has helped to raise their professional profile and increase their confidence. The QNI supports QNs to be innovative and always strive to improve patient care, for example by providing access to professional development opportunities. QNs are encouraged to engage in the policy work and other activities of the QNI, and in doing so help to ensure that the voice of the community nurse is heard at both a local and a national level. 

We are fortunate that we have Queen’s Nurses working across the children’s palliative care sector – from Jane Houghton, Practice and Service Development Manager here at Together for Short Lives, to Michael Tatterton, Martin House Children’s Hospice and Becky Hepworth Community Children's Nurse Team Leader Isle of Wight who received her award in the same week she was an Innovation Award Winner alongside the staff from Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the island, for their partnership work in improving choice for children and young people with life-limiting conditions. 

If you are interested in applying for the Queen’s Nurse title, more details are available here

Additional resources are available from the QNI to support nursing practice which may be of interest to those working with children and young people such as the new online learning resource for nurses who are new to working in the school nursing service. The learning resource has been developed specifically for the school nurse environment and contains 11 chapters, on subjects including safeguarding, integrating children with special health needs, working with other community professionals, and career development. The new book is designed to be used with a mentor and is based on reflective learning principles. You can access this resource here

The QNI has designed an app for school nurses who want to have immediate access to online information and advice about health and wellbeing that they can share with young people. Find full instructions on how to use the app here

Katrina McNamara is Director of Practice and Service Development at Together for Short Lives

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