Next year will mark five years since the QNI re-introduced the Queen's Nurse (QN) title, formerly given only to nurses who trained as district nurses at the Institute. Now the title is for any community nurse who can demonstrate their commitment to community-based nursing and to improving patient care. It is a community of enthusiasts and champions for excellent patient care in diverse settings outside hospitals.
Last week, nearly 100 Queen's Nurses came together in our annual QN meeting, representing about half the current QNs. Their passion for their work, and their ideas, commitment, resilience and interest was inspiring.
They had presentations on the future of prescribing, on patients' views of good care, and on the latest policy developments. They worked on a response to the Future Forum about education and workforce policy. Then they heard from five of their peers about innovative projects or new approaches being put into practice, and swapped contact details and promises to share experience.
A common theme in the QNs' presentations was the way they combined clinical knowledge with managerial skills and a dash of economics to make change happen. That is the way to convince commissioners, managers and doubters of the value of new ways of improving care; that is why we should never join politicians in taking cheap shots at managers while putting clinicians on a pedestal.
Many health service managers have a clinical background: with the combination of skills from each area, and some basic understanding of how the money works, such people ashould be the health service's most protected human resource.
The QNs inspired everyone at the QNI to redouble our efforts to grow this fantastic community of enthusiasts. We have community teams aiming to have every member a QN; a new group of QNs forming in Wales; and special interest groups, such as QNs from learning disability services, coming together across the country. These five year olds are on their feet and running.
- Rosemary Cook, director, Queen's Nursing Institute