Health Visitor Receives Prestigious Award

A NHS Forth Valley health visitor has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.

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

She was nominated by her employers for her high quality, compassionate nursing care and her tireless work with young children and families throughout rural Stirlingshire.

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

Deborah, who is based with the team at Doune Health Centre, has almost 20 years’ experience working as a community nurse and has worked within health visiting since 2005. She has also been a practice teacher for the past six years – inspiring and supporting the next generation of health visitors.

She said: “I absolutely love this job, I wouldn’t do anything else. As a health visitor I get to know the children and families I meet over a five year-span.

“It is a unique and privileged position to work with families for this extended time – you can see them flourish, you can be there for them in times of crisis and help them through that.

“The Queen’s Nurse programme has been an insightful and revealing journey. For me, Queen’s Nurses were the original community nursing pioneers in years gone by and I’m delighted to have been awarded the title.”

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 practice nurses.

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 award is a great way of recognising the important role that health visitors, as part of the community nursing team, play in providing a wide range of services and support to local children and families in their own homes.

“I’m delighted that Deborah 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 children and families in Doune and throughout Forth Valley.”

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.”