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A birthday card for community nursing

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A birthday card for community nursing A birthday card for community nursing

In 2012, we are celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Queen's Nursing Institute. We will be holding a major professional conference about community nursing in October. In November, we have been lucky enough to be offered a fundraising concert by the City of London Choir, for which we will be selling tickets later in the year.

We also hope to have a joint event with the Wellcome Trust, which holds many of our historical archives, at which some of these precious items will be brought out to see the light of day and to be available to historians and other interested parties.

Meanwhile, we are raising funds through the sale of a specially-designed china mug, featuring our traditional logo and the Queen's Jubilee logo - as the Queen is our Patron, it seemed a great opportunity to celebrate Her Majesty's long reign alongside our own very significant 'birthday'. A very special story about the then Princess Elizabeth will feature in our anniversary publication.

But the anniversary isn't only an opportunity for fond recollections, celebrations or even fundraising. It is an important reminder of the longevity and resilience of community nursing at a time when it is easy to think that the whole infrastructure of nursing is being undermined by change and 'liberation'.

The Institute's own records reveal how challenged Queen's Nurses were in the past and how they survived and thrived. They travelled to wars across the globe and organised nursing from scratch in deserts, on the veldt and next to battlefields. In the global flu pandemic, they nursed families where every member died and some of the nurses died too as a result. In better times, they sent back stories from Africa, the Middle East, the United States and elsewhere. The letters from Canada came by dog sled from Labrador, until the routes froze over for winter.

What we are celebrating is more than a century's worth of dedication, resilience, adventure, compassion and skill. That must be worth a birthday card for community nursing.

Rosemary Cook, director, Queen's Nursing Institute

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