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University of Hull nurse honoured as Queen’s Nurse

A University of Hull nursing academic has been honoured with the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse by The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The title of Queen’s Nurse is awarded to individual nurses who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to patient care, learning and leadership. 

Nurses, health visitors and midwives with 5 years’ experience working in and with the community are eligible for the title.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute is the oldest professional nursing organisation in the UK and believed to be the oldest nursing charity in the world. 

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Heather Pepper – a lecturer in acute care nursing at the University of Hull

Heather Pepper, a lecturer in acute care nursing at the University of Hull, said: “I am both delighted and humbled to have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse. It means so much to me – and I really want to thanks all my colleagues in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University who have helped me achieve this.

“For me, it has always been an honour and a privilege to work with the community but equally it has been clear there is still much work to be done to support our communities in relation to nursing and patient care.

“I hope that as a Queen’s Nurse I can continue to raise the standards of nursing care, support the local community including student nurses, nurses and practice partners as well as promote excellence in practice.

“As a committed nurse being acutely aware of both primary and secondary care, my aim is to continue to bridge the gap between primary and secondary care and raise our standards, not only supporting our student nurses but also supporting our nurses and practice partners to continue the amazing work they do.”

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The Queen’s Nurse certificate awarded to Heather for her achievements in community nursing

Heather, who attended an official awards ceremony in London this month, qualified as a registered nurse in 2008, specialising in critical care until 2014 when she made the change to community nursing as the lead practice nurse for a local GP surgery.

Throughout this time Heather, worked in primary care and in academia at the University of Lincoln, joining the University of Hull in 2019. Here – with the support of the team in the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences – Heather continued her work with the community, students and practice partners.

Heather, continues to work closely with the community often working shifts and volunteering as a girl guiding leader, but mainly providing education, support and leadership to Hull’s nursing community and practice partners.

Heather also has a keen research interest in Genomics – which is the study of a person's genes (the genome), including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person's environment. Heather works towards integrating this research into her practice in the community to help support patients, develop faster and quicker diagnosis and support nurses to deliver the highest quality of nursing care.

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive of the QNI, said: “On behalf of the QNI I would like to congratulate Heather Pepper and welcome her as a Queen’s Nurse. Queen’s Nurses serve as leaders and role models in community nursing, delivering high quality health care across the country.

“The application and assessment process to become a Queen’s Nurse is rigorous and requires clear commitment to improving care for patients, their families and carers. We look forward to working with Heather and all other new Queen’s Nurses who have received the title this year.”

Heather said: “The awards evening was a wonderful display of recognition towards the Queen’s Nurse title and the hard work required.”

The Queen’s Nursing Institute charity was originally founded to organise the training of district nurses and this was its core function until the 1960s. The charity traces its origins to 1887 with the grant of £70,000 by Queen Victoria from the Women’s Jubilee Fund.

A Royal Charter in 1889 named it Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses (QVJIN) and gave it the objective of providing the training, support, maintenance, and supply of nurses for the sick and poor as well as establishing homes and branches.

The charity, which has been called The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) since 1973, is based in London and works throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Queen’s Nursing title promotes excellent nursing care for everyone, where and when they need it, provided by nurses and their teams with specific skills and knowledge.

Through the national network of Queen’s Nurses, who are committed to the highest standards of care, there is a focus on funding nurses’ own ideas to improve patient care and supporting development through training programmes. Nurses who hold the title benefit from developmental workshops, bursaries, networking opportunities, and a shared professional identity.

The institute also publishes research into nursing practice, work force and education, to improve knowledge and standards. Influencing government policy makers and employers and campaigning for high quality services, offering educational grants to enhance nurse’s clinical knowledge supporting and helping retired community nurses in times of financial need are also a priority.

Read about Queen’s Nurse Dr Jennifer Loke, here

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