On International Nurses' Day, 12 May 2014, the QNI held an awards ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington. More than 220 people were in the audience to celebrate all that is good about community nursing, leadership, innovation and excellence in professional practice.
Sixty-five new Queen's Nurses received their Queen's Nurse badges and certificates from Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer. Five winners received Outstanding Service Award certificates, signed by our patron the Queen, from QNI Chair Kate Billingham. Fifteen innovation project leaders were awarded their final certificates of success from Lady Henrietta St George, a longstanding trustee of the Burdett Fund for Nursing.
Jane Cummings described how the policy focus is shifting to integrated community-based care within the NHS and that community nurses are key to ensuring people can be cared for in their homes, including at the end of their lives.
The ceremony incorporated an address from George Plumptre, chief executive of the National Garden Scheme (NGS). George spoke about the origins of the NGS and the trustee Elsie Wagg, who decided 87 years ago to open her garden to the public for a charge of sixpence, to raise funds to support the QNI. The initiative was meant to last for a year only, but thousands of gardens open to the public yearly and the NGS continues to raise funds for community nursing charities.
Also at the ceremony was a delegation of senior health professionals on a study tour from the International Longevity Centre in the Netherlands, an academic and policy making centre which focuses on the care of older people. The commission of care home managers, policy leaders and senior nurses were in the UK to learn about how we care for our older citizens in the UK. They were also keen to network with the best community nurses in the UK - and what better place than at the QNI awards ceremony on International Nurses' Day.
There are now over 500 Queen's Nurses and I urge you also to explore your potential to join this remarkable family of community nurses - genuine role models for our workforce.
Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen's Nursing Institute