Forth Valley Health Visitor Receives Prestigious Queen’s Nurse Award

A health visitor working with NHS Forth Valley is among a group of 21 to have been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.

Margaret-Ann Williamson, from Larbert, was selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).

The Health Visitor Team Lead for Clackmannanshire was nominated by managers at NHS Forth Valley for providing high quality, compassionate care to people in her local community.

After completing the programme successfully, Margaret-Ann was awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title along with 20 other community nurses at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday (November 29th).

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

Margaret-Ann, who is based at Clackmannanshire Community Health Care Centre, was selected for her commitment to making a real difference for families through early intervention and additional support.

She said: “I was told when I started in health visiting that you are part of the most important journey of people’s lives, and I still believe that.

“Playing a role in the community where you help parents at the very beginning of their journey as a family is something I have always got great fulfilment from.

“Being part of the Queen’s Nurse programme was an amazing experience as it brought together a group of passionate people who want to make a difference.”

NHS Forth Valley’d Director of Nursing, Professor Angela Wallace, said:  “The shift towards providing more care closer to people’s homes offers exciting opportunities for the further development of community nursing.

The Queen’s Nurse title is a very welcome mark of professional excellence and Margaret-Ann is the second nurse in NHS Forth Valley to be selected to receive this accolade. It was previously awarded to Joan Gracie, team leader in school nursing. Both these members of staff have demonstrated their impact as experienced practitioners and clinical leaders.”

Queen’s Nursing in Scotland dates back to the late 19th century, when nurses completed specific training which allowed them to work as district nurses. They provided healthcare and health promotion 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 Queen’s Nurse 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.

This year, 21 community nurses were selected to complete the nine-month programme which consists of a week-long residential workshop followed by two further workshops and coaching sessions in between.

The programme requires them to choose 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.

Other community nurses in the group include an offshore medic, a Diana Children’s Nurse, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and a multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease specialist.

Nurses providing care to people in the community who need support with a wide range of issues such as substance misuse, dementia care, dermatology, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and infant feeding also feature.

Those working in community mental health, district nursing, child health, school nursing, and care home nursing complete the group.

Clare Cable, QNIS Chief Executive and Nurse Director, said: “The development programme was designed to ensure that values of Queen’s Nurses of the past can be translated to meet the demands of leadership of nursing in the community in the future.

“The 2018 Queen’s Nurses really demonstrate the diversity of roles within community nursing in Scotland.

“They all uphold nursing excellence and bring a firm commitment to make a real difference to the lives of the people they work with. The Queen’s Nurse programme has resulted in a truly transformational journey for those involved and they should all be very proud to have been awarded the title.”

Each nurse was presented with a certificate and badge by Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer Professor Fiona McQueen during the awards ceremony at The Principal Edinburgh on George Street hotel.

Prof McQueen said: “Scottish nurses support the people of Scotland across all walks of life.

“This year’s Queen’s Nurses exemplify all that is good about nursing and nurses; supporting people at their time of greatest need and reaching out to people who often struggle to access services.

“Our Queen’s Nurses ‎are ambassadors for nursing and truly inspirational.”