A nurse working for veterans’ charity Erskine is among a group of 21 people to have been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.

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

She is the manager of Erskine’s dementia specialist home in Bishopton where she is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the home of 40 residents.

Lesley, from Helensburgh, was nominated by bosses at Erskine for her caring and compassionate nursing expertise, as well as for being a supportive and inspirational leader.

After completing the programme successfully, Lesley was awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title along with 20 other community nurses at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday (November 29).

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.

Lesley has been working as a care home nurse for almost 20 years and has spent the last 10 years working with Erskine, most recently as the manager of the Erskine Park Home.

She said: “In care home nursing, your drive is to make people’s life worthwhile and meaningful – nothing is too small. I can’t imagine working anywhere other than in a care home, I just wouldn’t get the same joy and fulfilment out of my job.

“I am incredibly proud to have gained the Queen’s Nurse title and hope to use it to promote the care home nursing role as an innovative and developing area of practice.”

Queen’s Nursing in Scotland dates back 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.

Following the introduction of a national certificate for district nursing, QNIS ceased training, awarding the Queen’s Nurse 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.

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 choose 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.

Derek Barron, Director of Care at Erskine, said: “We are proud of Lesley’s achievement in being awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse.

“Lesley is an inspirational manager and leader who has our residents at the centre of everything she does.

“Lesley’s project, as part of the Queen’s Nurse development programme, will increase the knowledge and skills of our staff, which will in turn make a difference to the lives of our residents.

“I know the nurses and care staff who work in Erskine Park and across our other three homes are also proud of Lesley in showcasing, in this national arena, that care home nursing is a vibrant career opportunity. Congratulations to Lesley.”

Other community nurses in the group include an offshore medic, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, 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, child health, school 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 said: “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.”