Debra Vickers has earned the right to use the historic Queen's Nurse title
A Western Isles nurse is among a group of 20 to have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse – marking the first time the honour has been made in Scotland for almost 50 years.
Debra Vickers, NHS Western Isles Nurse Consultant for Cardiology, was selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).
Each of the community nurses were nominated by their managers for providing high quality, compassionate nursing care.
Debra took up a British Heart Foundation-funded post to set up the Western Isles Heart Failure Service, with the cardiac nurse team she established now managing the care of patients who are living with heart failure right across the islands.
When the heart failure service was up and running from the Butt of Lewis to Barra, NHS Western Isles took over the funding from the British Heart Foundation and developments have continued.
Debra said: “As a service we are achieving a great deal. It’s about identifying what people need to make their lives better, and doing your very best to get it for them.
“Becoming a Queen’s Nurse and going through the development programme has made me even more passionate about community cardiac nursing, and is helping me to find ways to meet challenges head on.
“Taking part in the QNIS programme was a tremendous opportunity and I really look forward to working alongside my fellow Queen’s Nurses who are all outstanding practitioners working in a variety of community settings across Scotland.”
After completing the nine-month QNIS programme, Debra has earned the right to use the Queen’s Nurse title which dates back to the late 19th century when nurses trained at institutes across Scotland until 1969.
She is among the 20 new Queen’s Nurses gaining the title to be presented with a certificate and badge by Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith during the QNIS awards ceremony in Edinburgh on December 1.
Other community nurses in the include a midwife caring for asylum seeking mothers in Glasgow, a nurse in police custody, alongside practice and district nurses, school nurses, a mental health nurse, health visitors, a care home and a Parish nurse.
Clare Cable, Chief Executive and Nurse Director of QNIS, said: “These 20 exceptional individuals can be deservedly proud of being awarded this prestigious title.
“From the late 1880s, Queen’s Nurses were social reformers who were taking public health into people’s homes to help families take better care of themselves. The modern Queen’s Nurses are building on this proud heritage – sharing this pioneering spirit to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities of Scotland.
“Their roles vary, from bringing care to some of society’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups to supporting people in mental distress or end of life care.”
She added: “They represent the geography of Scotland, from rural communities and small islands to concentrated areas within the big cities, but they all demonstrate nursing excellence which makes a real difference to the lives of the people they work with.”