Tucked away in a narrow street in Clerkenwell, London WC1, is the headquarters of the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), the small-but-influential charity dedicated to improving the nursing care of people in their own homes.
Its unassuming exterior is a world away from the impressive facades of Royal Colleges such as the RCN in W1, and the Royal College of GPs' Euston base, newly refurbished at a cost of £38 million. But size does not always equate to efficacy.
With government policy focused squarely on reducing pressure on A&E by moving workload out of hospitals and into community settings, the QNI - as the only charity with an exclusive focus on the range of patient care in this sector - is gaining a reputation as an important mouthpiece for community nursing.
The QNI's remit
The QNI has a remit to provide practical support to district nurses, school nurses and health visitors, funding nurse-led projects and offering training, conferences and professional resources.
It champions excellence in nursing, awarding the title of Queen's Nurse to those who demonstrate a commitment to patient-centred values and improving practice.
'You have to be small and flexible to make a big impact,' explains QNI chair Kate Billingham, who joined the organisation in November after a career in health visiting and more than 10 years at the DH, working latterly on the Family Nurse Partnership initiative.
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