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Why become a Queen’s nurse?

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The annual Community Practitioner and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) conference is always a vibrant event. A chance to hear from the system leaders on all issues relevant to population health, prevention and the support of parents and young children; two days to be updated on practice-based issues like innovations, research and education, and an opportunity to network with friends and colleagues and make new connections.

This year, I was thrilled to meet at the conference a health visitor who had been a student of mine around 17 years ago. When speaking about her practice, she was as full of energy and enthusiasm as she had been as a student; always challenging, always with a focus on best practice, innovation, learning and leadership. We spoke about the QNI and the values it upholds, the work we do in supporting best practice and encouraged her to apply to become a Queen's Nurse (QN). She replied 'Why me? I just do my job'. My reply was to ask 'Why not you? You do a wonderful job, have supported so many student and returning health visitors to join the workforce and provide daily inspiration to others by maintaining a focus on excellence in health visiting work.'

I introduced her to another QN who happened to be passing us at just that moment – so she could share her experience of being a QN, joining a like-minded group of professionals, the opportunities to influence policy and the benefits it brings to frontline practice.

'Why me?' is a really common response when community nurses are asked about applying to become a QN. My experience is that nurses do not expect recognition or reward for what they are doing, often because going above and beyond the call of duty has become normal practice and they cannot see the remarkable impact of their work on others around them.

Becoming a QN offers an opportunity to be recognised, to stand out for habitual excellence in practice and to benefit from the support, sharing and learning that the QNI offers.

On the QNI website, testimonials from our QNs describe the impact the award has had on their professional lives and there is information on how to apply:

By completing the QN application, you will answer the question 'Why me?'.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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