Falkirk Nurse Receives Prestigious Award

A nurse working at a medical centre in Falkirk has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.

Gabriela Maxwell was selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).

The Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) was nominated by her employers for demonstrating high quality, compassionate nursing care in the community as well as her expertise in embedding the ANP role.

After successfully completing the programme, Gabriela was awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title along with 19 other community nurses at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday (November 28).

Gabriela, who took up her role as ANP at the Graeme Medical Centre recently, worked previously for many years in hospital as an intensive care nurse.

In her role as ANP she assesses, diagnoses, treats and refers patients – providing full autonomous patient care, liaising with colleagues across primary and secondary care as necessary.

What I love about being an ANP in primary care is that you see people across their lifetime – you may see them in early childhood, as teenagers and then as young adults. I want to make a difference for every person I meet – everyone deserves the opportunity to live well and keep well.

“The real positive thing for me is the continuity of relationships – trust and knowledge of people’s lives builds over time.

“The Queen’s Nurse programme has been completely different from anything that I have ever done before. It has re-ignited my passion for nursing and allowed me to reconnect with a nursing community that shares the same standards and values.”

Other community nurses in the group of new Queen’s Nurses from across Scotland include a Macmillan nurse, a nurse working in homeless services and care home nurses as well as district nurses, school nurses and health visitors.

They were all presented with their title by author Christie Watson at the ceremony at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Lesley Thomson, Head of Community Nursing for NHS Forth Valley, said: “This is an exciting time of transformation within primary care and the award is a great way of recognising the important role that Advanced Nurse Practitioners play in providing a wide range of services and supports within General Practice.

“I’m delighted that Gabriela has had the opportunity to complete this important nine-month development programme and I am sure she is looking forward to sharing her experience to further improve the care and support delivered to local people in Falkirk.”

In 2019 the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland is celebrating its 130th anniversary. The original Queen’s Nurses provided care and health education to people in their own homes and became well respected figures within their community.

Following the introduction of a national certificate for district nursing, QNIS ceased training, awarding the QN title for the final time in 1969.

However, the decision was made to reintroduce Queen’s Nurses to Scotland in 2017, with 20 community nurses chosen to take part in a development programme which would see them become the first modern Queen’s Nurses.

The process involves employers nominating a community-based nurse who will go forward for interview following a successful written application.

The programme consists of a week-long residential workshop followed by two further workshops and coaching sessions in between. Each nurse selects an issue for development which will have a significant impact on those they care for, so that the learning during the nine months is applied in practice.

It marks only the third time the honour has been made in Scotland in almost 50 years following the reintroduction of the title in 2017.

Clare Cable, QNIS Chief Executive and Nurse Director, said: “Three years on from reintroducing the Queen’s Nurse title to Scotland, we now have 61 Queen’s Nurses working in communities across the country.

“They are extraordinary role models for nursing in the community and show the enormous contribution which nurses make to the health of Scotland’s people.

“This year’s Queen’s Nurses demonstrate the diversity of community nursing roles, with the welcome addition of Queen’s Nurses working in learning disabilities, and sexual health for the first time.

“They are all expert community nurses – change makers across the country.”