Expert Falkirk nurse joins an elite Queen’s league of carers

Newly-appointed Queen's Nurse Gabriela Maxwell.
Newly-appointed Queen's Nurse Gabriela Maxwell.

A Falkirk nurse whose expertise and compassion have won high praise from her employers has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse.

Gabriela Maxwell received the special honour at a ceremony in Edinburgh yesterday, following a nine month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).

She recently took on the role of Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) at Falkirk’s Graeme Medical Centre, having previously worked for many years in hospital as an intensive care nurse.

Gabriela’s ANP work involves assessing, diagnosing, treating and referring patients, liaising with colleagues across primary and secondary care as necessary.

Her expertise in “embedding” the ANP role was one of the reasons she was nominated for the Queen’s Nurse title.

The high quality, compassionate care in the community she carries out was also a key factor.

Gabriela said: “What I love about being an ANP in primary care is that you see people across their lifetime - you may see them in early childhood, as teenagers and then as young adults.

“I want to make a difference for every person I meet – everyone deserves the opportunity to live well and keep well. 

“The real positive thing for me is the continuity of relationships – trust and knowledge of people’s lives builds over time”.

She added: “The Queen’s Nurse programme has been completely different from anything that I have ever done before.

“It has re-ignited my passion for nursing and allowed me to reconnect with a nursing community that shares the same standards and values.”

    Lesley Thomson, Head of Community Nursing for NHS Forth Valley, said: “This is an exciting time of transformation within primary care and the award is a great way of recognising the important role that Advanced Nurse Practitioners play in providing a wide range of services and supports within General Practice.

“I’m delighted that Gabriela has had the opportunity to complete this important nine-month development programme and I am sure she is looking forward to sharing her experience to further improve the care and support delivered to local people in Falkirk.”

The original Queen’s Nurses provided care and health education 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, and the QN title was awarded for what was planned to be the last time in 1969.   

However the decision was made to reintroduce Queen’s Nurses to Scotland in 2017, and 20 community nurses were 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.    

It marks only the third time the honour has been made in Scotland in almost 50 years, following the reintroduction of the title in 2017.   

Clare Cable, QNIS Chief Executive and Nurse Director, said: “Three years on from reintroducing the Queen’s Nurse title to Scotland, we now have 61 Queen’s Nurses working in communities across the country.  

 “They are extraordinary role models for nursing in the community and show the enormous contribution which nurses make to the health of Scotland’s people.  

 “They are all expert community nurses - change makers across the country.”