The death of the Queen will continue to be mourned by millions of people, but what will certainly be remembered is her dedication to public service.
“Her Majesty’s absolute commitment to serving the people of this country and the Commonwealth during her 70-year reign has been truly inspirational and she has brought the nation together like no other - a constant source of joy, humility and integrity. May she rest in peace." (Mark Lam; The chair of the Royal Free London Foundation Trust, 2022)
Her Majesty represented continuity and stability and was a woman who tirelessly championed for the NHS. She was a patron of many health and care organisations and is being remembered as an “ardent support of the NHS” and for her “unreserved commitment to care”.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute, and Queen’s Nurses, are linked to the Queen as the royal Patron, and will be remembered for her leadership and wisdom in so many areas of life. Although the QNI are deeply saddened by the loss of their royal patron, the Queen’s Nurses will continue to work in Her Majesty’s name.
The Queen became patron of the institute in 2002, following the previous patronage of the Queen’s Mother. She was the fifth royal patron of the QNI - the charity dedicated to improving the nursing care of people in the home and community.
In 2007, Her Majesty reintroduced the title of the Queen’s Nurse in England, Wales and Northern Ireland after an absence of almost 40 years. The title was also reintroduced in Scotland in 2017. Nurses receiving the title had their award graciously signed by Her Majesty on completion of the programme – which was 130 in total.
Clare Cable, QNIS chief executive and nurse director (2022) said, “Having this signature was a mark of the value she placed on nursing and midwifery ?and was deeply appreciated by every recipient”. The Queens nurses wear their awards with pride a feel very honoured to have Her Majesty’s signature.
The QNI added, “Her Majesty’s support in reintroducing the Queen’s Nurse title had led to such a growth in the appreciation and understanding of the work of community nurses in promoting the health and wellbeing in people of all ages and backgrounds in every part of the UK”.
The Royal Family has a long history of recognising the work of healthcare professionals in the UK. As the longest reigning monarch, The Queen has been a constant presence and source of stability for much of the population, including supporting the NHS for the majority of its 74 years.
Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the University Hospital of Wales and met with staff and patients - praising not only frontline teams, but the many hundreds of staff that play a vital role behind the scenes.
The Queen was also a patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London since 1952 and had spent time visiting both its hospital sites in Chelsea and Sutton to meet staff and patients. She had been a wonderful supporter of their work over the years.
In 2021, the Queen awarded the George Cross (which was instituted in 1940 by King George VI) to all NHS staff, past and present for acts of the greatest heroism - praising the courage, compassion and dedication of its staff and how they have demonstrated the highest standards of public service.
Queen Elizabeth II marked her Platinum Jubilee this year and became the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years of service. Nurses who qualified throughout her reign have mentioned how the profession has changed during this period – not only on a material level, the uniforms worn by nurses, but also the complexity of care provided.
What appears to have remained constant, however, is the view of the profession as one that is highly rewarding and gives people an opportunity to make a difference in a wide variety of settings.
As she did in life, The Queen’s death will leave a lasting impression on the country. She has been revolutionary – reinvented the empire, retained a national footprint, made herself relatable, and got into the heart of people’s home.
May she rest in peace.