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Innovations in the community

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Queen's Nurses are key to combatting loneliness Queen's Nurses are key to combatting loneliness

On 14 April the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) held its annual conference for 200 Queen’s Nurses (QNs) – around a quarter of the Queen’s Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They gathered for a day of sharing current issues, good practice and innovation – including a display of 15 posters selected to demonstrate the impact QNs have had on the lives of individuals, patients, families and carers.

We were joined by a host of great speakers, including CNO Jane Cummings, who shared her experiences of shadowing QNs in a variety of roles. She also introduced an outline of the new nursing strategy for England. Many QNs participated in a workshop with Jane’s team in December 2015 to inform the community and primary care nursing perspective in the new strategy, which is due for release on 18 May.

James Munro from the website Patient Opinion provided an excellent insight into the use of patient stories to understand our health services from the users’ perspective. Providers can respond directly to patient and carer feedback, which may help to de-escalate potential complaints and ensure patients know that their comments have been taken seriously and have resulted in actions being taken.

Not all feedback is negative. In fact James emphasised the importance of recognising that Patient Opinion was providing a simple way of gathering positive feedback too. The power of patient stories as evidence of good practice was a really strong message and many are truly uplifting.

The annual meeting also saw the launch of a new QNI service to end loneliness amongst our retired QNs. ‘Keeping in Touch’ will provide a telephone befriending service for those nurses, some of whom are housebound and who have requested contact with our ‘new’ QNs. Thirty eight QNs expressed interest to become a volunteer befriender – a fantastic number that was way beyond our expectations.

The volunteer befrienders will commit to training with the QNI in London and will then be matched with a retired QNs whom they’ll speak to on the phone every week. The level of interest in the scheme demonstrates that QNs go above and beyond expectations both for the communities they serve – and for members of their own profession.

Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute

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