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Children's nurse becomes first in Scotland to hold two prestigious titles

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A senior staff nurse who works for a children’s hospice charity has been awarded Queen’s nurse title for her “compassionate” care to children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

Caroline Porter became a Diana Children’s Nurse four years ago, meaning she is now the first nurse in Scotland to hold both titles.

“At the heart of my role is identifying the hope that can be found, even in the worst of situations”

Caroline Porter

Ms Porter was among 21 community nurses awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s nurse by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) in a ceremony held in Edinburgh last night.

It marks only the second time the Queen’s nurse honour has been made in Scotland in almost 50 years following the reintroduction of the title in 2017.

With over 30 years’ service, Ms Porter was nominated for her latest title, for “bringing compassionate palliative care nursing expertise to babies, children and young people and their families”, said Children’s Hospice Across Scotland (CHAS).

The charity works with nurses to help provide hospice services for children with life-shortening illnesses by offering palliative, respite and end-of-life care from its two sites and a home service.

After qualifying with a specialist practitioner qualification in community children’s nursing, Ms Porter spent seven years working in the community before joining CHAS in 2009 as a senior staff nurse.

“The 2018 Queen’s nurses demonstrate the diversity of roles within community nursing in Scotland”

Clare Gable

She currently covers five health boards across the West of Scotland where she acts as a liaison between hospitals and CHAS to support families who have children with life-shortening conditions.

Ms Porter, who qualified as the first independent non-medical prescriber within CHAS in 2012, said: “I feel privileged to do the job that I do.

“I learn so much from the children and families that I meet, their resilience and strength in the face of such adversity is truly inspiring and drives me to do the best I possibly can for them,” she said.

“At the heart of my role is identifying the hope that can be found, even in the worst of situations,” noted Ms Porter.

She said: “One mum said to me that I gave her hope when all around her people were taking it away – it’s about instilling confidence in parents when they feel like there’s nothing else that can be done.

“We can’t save their child’s life, but what we offer instead is an environment where they can do something lovely with their child to create precious, cherished memories that will endure,” she added.

“This year’s Queen’s nurses exemplify all that is good about nursing and nurses”

Fiona McQueen

Earlier this year, Ms Porter and 20 other community nurses were selected to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the QNIS to became eligible for the Queen’s nurse title.

The programme required them to choose an issue for development that would have a significant impact on patients, meaning the learning during the nine months could be applied in practice.

It included community nurses providing care to people with a wide range of issues such as substance misuse, dementia care, dermatology, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and infant feeding.

Those working in general practice, community mental health, district nursing, child health, school nursing, care home nursing and health visiting were also included in the group.

After successfully completing the programme, all 21 community nurses were awarded the historic Queen’s nurse title.

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 demonstrate the diversity of roles within community nursing in Scotland,” she added.

“They are all expert community nurses, seeking to make a real difference to the lives of the people they work with,” said Ms Cable.

Each nurse was presented with a certificate and badge by Scotland’s chief nursing officer Professor Fiona McQueen.

She said: “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,” she added.

Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland

Queen’s nurses in Scotland

The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland awarded 21 community nurses the prestigious title of Queen’s nurse at a ceremony held in Edinburgh on 28 November 2018

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