Sandwell nurse Sheila receives national recognition

4th Dec 2012

Sheila Thomas, immunisation lead with Sandwell’s School Health Nursing Team, has been given the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse (QN) by community nursing charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI).

The title is not an award for past service, but indicates a commitment to high standards of patient care, learning and leadership. Nurses who hold the title benefit from developmental workshops, bursaries, networking opportunities, and a shared professional identity.

Sheila, who is employed by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust (SWBH), was one of just 62 nurses nationwide who were awarded the title at the charity’s Awards Ceremony, held at The Commonwealth Club in London last month.

Having been a school health nurse for over 25 years, Sheila has seen many changes and is proud of the work she and her team in Sandwell do. School nurse clinical lead, and Sheila’s manager, Shawinder Basra-Dhillon added: “Sheila is a fantastic ambassador for the school health service and has achieved so much. When she took on the role of immunisation lead four years ago, it was a tough job but now our immunisation levels are way above the national average. Our whole team is very proud of Sheila becoming a Queen’s Nurse, though we don’t have to curtsey!”

Sheila, 51, was invited to apply for the title after completing a ‘Nurse First’ Innovation and Leadership programme for community professionals. The course was an intensive programme that ran over a year.

Sheila said: “I had to apply and be selected to be one of the first nurses in the country to take this course, so was delighted to get on and I really relished the challenge. After completion I was invited to apply to be a Queen’s Nurse, which was just the icing on the cake.”

Queen’s Nurses are consulted by Government and NHS think-tanks to discuss and affect national policy. Sheila’s immunisation work in Sandwell has already meant she has been asked by the Dept of Health to speak to them about the subject.

Keen for all of her colleagues to make the most of their profession, gain qualifications and increase their experience, Shelia is described as having “a heart of gold” by boss Shawinder, who added: “Sheila is not only rightly proud of her own professional achievements but is also proud of her colleagues, all of whom she is always happy to nominate for awards. She is a wonderful representative of our service.”

QNI Director Crystal Oldman said: “Congratulations are due to Sheila for her success. Community nurses operate in an ever more challenging world and our role is to support them as effectively as we can. The QN title is a key part of this and we would encourage other community nurses to apply.”


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