A nurse who covers Skye and Lochalsh has been awarded the title of Queen's Nurse.
Michelle Duffy from the Black Isle, along with Kitty Millar from Campbeltown, were selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).
The two NHS Highland community nurses are among a group of twenty from Scotland awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse, marking the first time the honour has been made for almost 50 years.
They were both presented with a Queen's Nurse certificate and badge by Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith during the QNIS awards ceremony in Edinburgh on Friday 1 December 2017.
Each of the community nurses were nominated by their managers for providing high quality, compassionate care.
Michelle, an advanced practice respiratory nurse with NHS Highland based in Inverness, covers Caithness, Sutherland, Skye, Lochalsh and Lochaber, offering specialist nursing care and advice.
Most of the people on Michelle’s caseload are elderly and have conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema and bronchiectasis, which make it difficult to breathe.
Working closely with national charities, as well as community-based support groups, Michelle and her colleagues raise awareness of respiratory disease, and the importance of early diagnosis. They take their spirometer, for measuring lung capacity, into supermarkets and shopping centres to offer on-the-spot tests, and use every opportunity to raise awareness.
Michelle said: “I am delighted to have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse. I hope to use it to spread the word about the service we are delivering here in the Highlands.
“The Queen’s Nurse Programme and teaching has had a huge impact. I’d encourage anyone who has the chance to take part in the programme. I can honestly say it’s been some of the most valuable development work I’ve done in my career. Community nursing is changing and has become more complex as we care for people closer to their homes. The learning from QNIS has enabled me to share the story of this with others to help them understand what we do.
“I’m lucky to be a part of a great respiratory team who share the same values. We try to understand the patient and family perspective and make sure that’s at the centre of all that we do. The creative focus of the QNIS programme has helped me to explore ways to help patients share their experience. The ethos of the programme was person-centred and I believe there’s nothing as valuable as hearing someone’s experience and it can encourage and give hope and help others to manage their condition better.
After completing the QNIS programme, Michelle and Kitty have earned the right to use the Queen’s Nurse Title, which dates back to the late 19th century when nurses trained at institutes across Scotland until 1969.