A BORDERS nurse has been awarded an historic title by her profession.

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

The Child Protection and Looked After Children’s Nurse, based in Galashiels, was nominated for providing high quality, compassionate care to young people in her community.

After completing the programme successfully, Rachel was awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title along with 20 other community nurses at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday.

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.

Rachel was selected for her knowledge and expertise in supporting the health needs of vulnerable children and young people.

She told us: “Working in this role, I am able to advocate for the health needs of children and young people – and that is a real privilege.

“The Queen’s Nurse programme is based on person-centred culture and this is what I seek to bring to the children and young people I work with – looking at the heart of that young person and helping them to encounter themselves positively.”

Queen’s Nursing in Scotland dates 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.

Nicky Berry, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Acute Services at NHS Borders, said: “We are incredibly proud of Rachel in completing the programme and becoming a Queen’s Nurse.

“Her work within the Scottish Borders is vital and this great opportunity will enable Rachel to continue to develop the way we care for looked after children and young people.”

Following a restructuring of nurse education, QNIS ceased training its own nurses, awarding the 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 senior managers in the NHS or private organisations nominating a community-based nurse who will go forward for interview following a successful 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 pick a project to work on 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, 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, school nursing, care home nursing and health visiting 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 told us: “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.”