Two nurses at Livewell Southwest have been named Queen’s Nurse, joining five colleagues at the organisation who have already been awarded the prestigious title.
Sonia Green and Jo Beniston received their award at a national ceremony in London, and both agreed it was an honour to wear the coveted badge which highlights their commitment to provide the best possible care for the people they serve.
The award is for nurses working in the community for more than five years and recognises commitment to high standards of patient care, learning and leadership. The tough assessment process for the sought-after title involves testimony from colleagues, managers and patients.
Sonia has worked in the Out of Hours community nursing team, based at Mount Gould Hospital, for 10 years, and has been manager for the past 18 months. Jo is District Nursing Team Manager, based in Tavistock, and joined Livewell Southwest two years ago.
Both were thrilled to discover they had been chosen to receive their award. Jo said: “After qualifiying as a district nurse and getting my master’s degree, becoming a Queen’s Nurse was my next aspiration. The Queens Nursing Institute champions the role of district nurses and its vision is to achieve high-quality community-based care by promoting excellence, innovation and reform.
“Working in the community is not just about patient care – it’s about making a real difference to that person and their life. This recognition means a lot to me.”
Sonia added: “Working in the Out of Hours team is a privilege as patients are often at their most vulnerable during the twilight and night hours. But it can also feel a bit isolating. Being a Queen’s Nurse is a huge honour, and it opens up networking opportunities and chance to share and learn best practice with other Queen’s Nurses.”
No one was more thrilled at the news than Livewell colleagues who already hold the title.
Coral Styles, professional lead at Livewell, began her nursing career at Mount Gould Hospital 40 years ago and was the first Queen’s Nurse in Plymouth.
She was joined by Theresa Mitchell, Shona Cornish, Hazel Roberts and Sian Ellyatt.
Coral said: “Being a Queen’s Nurse helps us to promote the range of work that community nurses do, and inspires colleagues to feel proud of their role which is often unseen by many people. It also helps us to celebrate our achievements.”
Shona is modern matron in the community nursing team, and is cited as an inspiration by colleagues. She said: “It makes me proud that we are recognised as being innovative and driving services forward.”
Theresa is a specialist service lead in tissue viablility and continence among other things, and felt that being made a QN was a reward for her nursing career. She added: “It helped me to pause, and reflect on all the people who have influenced and inspired me, the people I’ve met over the years, and we don’t often get to chance to do that in our busy lives. It was really valuable.”
The most recent additions to the cohort before Sonia and Jo, were Hazel Roberts and Sian Ellyatt, who work with people with addictions at The Harbour Centre in Plymouth. Both psychiatric nurses by background, Hazel is clinical manager at the centre, and Sian heads the alcohol outreach team.
Dr Adam Morris, Livewell Southwest chief executive, said: “Our Queen’s Nurses exemplify what it means to be an outstanding caring, innovative and professional nurse, and I’m proud to congratulate Sonia and Jo for their award.
“Our community nurses play a central role in helping people to remain well, independent and at home and this award recognises that. I know they are an inspiration to others as we continue to improve care and support for people in their own communities.”
The Queen’s Nursing Institute is a registered charity founded in 1887 which believes in the best possible nursing care for people at home. It works with nurses and decision-makers to ensure that good quality nursing is available to everyone, when they need it.