A CARE home nurse and a learning disability nurse have both been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.  

Jane Douglas, Chief Executive at Queen’s House in Kelso, and Fiona Mason, a senior charge nurse within the Scottish Borders Learning Disability Service, were selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland.  

Both were nominated by their employers for providing high quality, compassionate care to people in their communities. 

After completing the programme successfully, they were awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title along with 18 other community nurses at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday.   

Jane has been with Queen’s House for around three years and was appointed Chief Executive in April.

The charity, which employs approximately 125 staff, has two care homes - Queen's House and Murray House.

Jane said: “I have worked in care home nursing for many years across a range of roles before I was lucky enough to get my current job.

"I love where I am now - I am where I am meant to be.

“My aim is that people experience life in a care home positively, that they have a voice and they are able to be autonomous as much as they can be. By doing this and listening hard to what people prefer, I hope we are able to achieve wellbeing.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to receive the Queen’s Nurse title. I am passionate about promoting the role of the nurse in care homes, an important role which requires skills and knowledge in the field of older people and people living with dementia. I hope now to be able to further raise the profile of nurses in care homes.”

Fiona, who is based in Earlston, works within a multidisciplinary team across health and social care.

She said: “Working as a community learning disability nurse I am in a very privileged position to be welcomed into people’s homes to work alongside individuals, their families and carers.

“To have people share parts of their life story with me is something I never take for granted. A large part of my role is assessing, monitoring, managing and treating physical and mental health. I work together with people with learning disabilities to help them navigate the system, so they are able to receive the expert care they need.

“Having the Queen’s Nurse title will help to raise the profile of learning disability nursing, which is very important to me. It’s been an honour to have been given the opportunity to be part of an inspirational, innovative and forward-thinking group of nurses who can problem solve and lead change to improve the quality of services within our various areas of expertise.”

Fiona was congratulated by the director of nursing, midwifery and acute services at NHS Borders, Nicky Berry.

She said: “We are delighted that Fiona has been selected as a Queen’s Nurse.

"The shift towards providing care closer to people’s homes offers exciting opportunities for the further development of community nursing.

“Fiona’s work within the Scottish Borders is vital and we look forward to there being more Queen’s nurses across NHS Borders.”

Other community nurses in the group include a Macmillan nurse, a dementia specialist nurse and a nurse working in homelessness services, as well as district nurses, health visitors, 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.   

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.    

Clare Cable, QNIS Chief Executive and Nurse Director, told us: “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 another working in sexual health for the first time.   

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