The Queen’s Nurses Institute of Scotland (QNIS) recently handed out long-service awards to nurses across the region who had served for at least 21 years.
34 long-serving nurses attended the event in Dumfries on 6 September, along with seven local Queen’s Nurses. 12 other nurses qualified for awards but were unable to attend the ceremony.
The awards were presented by Clare Cable, honorary professor of nursing at Queen Margaret University and a QNIS member since 2014.
She said: “Excellent care is delivered by excellent nurses and midwives every day, but we rarely stop to acknowledge its importance. Long service means 21 years – which means you would have started in 2002. My own children were just starting school in 2002, and now they are full-grown adults. A lot has changed in that period – new methods and new technology. And we have all seen things in the last three years, with the pandemic, that we could never have imagined.”
Speaking at the event, NHS Dumfries and Galloway interim director of nursing Mark Kelly said: “In this room there must be more than eight hundred years of nursing experience and care and support that you’ve been providing to patients and colleagues. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
The longest-serving nurse at the event was Linda Dunlop, who retired at the end of 2022 after 42 years’ service as a community nurse, working in various locations including Lochmaben and Moffat cottage hospitals and Mountainhall Treatment Centre. Husband and wife Lenny and Amanda Allen received their awards together, recognising 34 and 32 years’ service respectively.
The Queen’s Nurses were originally community nurses, trained by Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses, a charity founded in 1889. The charity stopped training its own nurses in 1968 – nursing now requires a higher education qualification – and is now called the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland. Since 2017, it has awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse to outstanding community nurses, midwives and health visitors who have completed the institute’s nine-month development programme.
Only 20 new Queen’s Nurses can be appointed each year. Scotland now has over 150 of these Queen’s Nurses, with ten in Dumfries and Galloway. Unscheduled community mental health service manager and forensic nurse specialist Jena Davies has completed the course and will graduate in November, becoming D&G’s eleventh Queen’s Nurse.