The QNI annual award ceremony took place on 30 September – as a virtual event. For the first time in our 133-year history, we were unable to celebrate in person with our award recipients, new Fellows and Queen’s Nurses. However, the event was a huge success, with around 600 people logging on to celebrate with friends and family. The advantage of being online was that even more people could attend – and it is recorded, so award and title recipients can experience the ceremony again and share their moment with others. It was a wonderful way to celebrate the huge variety of different nursing roles in the community.
This is all part of the ways in which the QNI is adapting to respond to the current impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We are stepping up opportunities for nurses to engage with us virtually, through regional online meetings and our upcoming QN leadership taster sessions. Our Queen’s Nurses continue to do incredible things during the pandemic: providing advice to the Government on infection prevention and control when delivering care in the home; and supporting the QNI to create resources for nurses working in the community who are caring for people experiencing the longer term impact of COVID-19.
The QNI is also offering our annual conference as an online experience later this month. Themed as ‘Learning from the Pandemic’, it will be free to access for all. Over a week, the conference offers an opportunity to learn how nurses have responded to the pandemic both nationally and internationally – covering practice innovations, policy, research and education.
We will be joined by national and international speakers providing an insight into the nurses’ response to COVID-19 as well as experts by experience who will share their insights. It is a fabulous opportunity for nurses, allied health professionals, students and policy-makers and is a gift from the QNI as a thank you for all nurses who have been working in the community throughout the pandemic.
With regional lockdowns now in place, nurses are managing a second wave of COVID-19 in the community.
A workforce that is still recovering from the first outbreak is now coping with a second – and while there is little coverage of this in the press, it is the community nursing and care home workforce that has provided more care for people with COVID-19 and their families, including end of life care – than any other part of the system.
The TalkToUs service created by the QNI in response to the expressed needs of the community nursing workforce provides an opportunity for nurses to speak to a trained listener who is also a nurse – and to be signposted for further support as needed.
It is another way in which the QNI has responded to need and adapted our work – just as community nurses are doing every day in serving their communities.