Queen's Nursing Institute

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The Queen's Nursing Institute
Formation 1887
Headquarters London
Region served
England, Wales, Northern Ireland
Chief Executive
Dr Crystal Oldman
Website http://www.qni.org.uk

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) is a charity that works to improve the nursing care of people in their own homes in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It does not operate in Scotland.


In 1859, Liverpool merchant and philanthropist William Rathbone employed a nurse named Mary Robinson to care for his wife at home during her final illness. After his wife's death Rathbone decided to employ Robinson to nurse people in their own homes who could not afford medical care. The success of this early experiment encouraged him to campaign for more nurses to be employed in the community.

Elizabeth Malleson who was concerned to find that there was little local service of nurses for pregnant women in the 1880s. Malleson arranged for a trained nurse and midwife to be available to serve the people of Gotherington. Malleson's scheme was not the first but she decided to form a national organisation and her appeal for help brought her into contact with Lady Lucy Hicks-Beech. She was the wife of Michael Hicks Beach, 1st Earl St Aldwyn and they gathered enough support to launch a Rural Nursing Association.[1]

These were the beginning of organised district nursing. By the end of the 19th century, with the help of Florence Nightingale and the approval of Queen Victoria, the movement became a national voluntary organisation responsible for setting standards and training nurses. In 1887 'the women of England' raised a Jubilee Fund of £70,000 to mark Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The Queen announced that the money should be used for nursing, and Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute for Nurses was chartered in 1889.[2] Elizabeth Malleson's nurses became the Rural Nursing Division in 1891 was Malleson was its secretary.[1] Rosalind Paget was the main organisation's first Superintendent, and later Inspector-General. Queen Alexandra agreed to be patron in 1901, and a Queen has been Patron of the charity ever since. From 1928 the Institute was known as The Queen's Institute of District Nursing, until it assumed its present name in 1973.


1 in 4 people over the age of 75 in the United Kingdom need a district nurse's care at home, rising to 1 in 2 people over 85. In total district nurses visit more than 2.6 million people a year At the same time the number of trained district nurses has fallen to fewer than 10,000 in England. At the same time, the number of health care assistants - trained to do specific tasks but who are not qualified nurses - has more than doubled[3]

As a result, The Queen's Nursing Institute launched the 'Right Nurse, Right Skills' campaign with the aim of drawing attention to the continuing loss of nursing skills in the community, and the impact this is having on the quality of care for elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes.

Queen's Nurses[edit]

The title of ‘Queen’s Nurse’ used to be given to nurses who had trained at the QNI. Although we no longer train nurses, we still provide them with free professional support and development. We re-instated the title of Queen’s Nurse in 2007 after a gap of 40 years in part as a response to the new challenges facing community nursing, and to help safeguard and promote high standards in patient care. All nurses who work in the community or primary care, can apply for the QN title. Today’s Queen’s Nurses all have training and experience of caring for people in their own homes, in clinics, or in other community settings. They contribute to many local and national initiatives to improve care, and the QN development programme helps them to build the skills they need to do this – in communications, business, finance, commissioning and technology.

Currently there are over 700 Queen's Nurses. [4]

Programmes and Services[edit]

Fund for Innovation[edit]

Since 1990 The Queen’s Nursing Institute has supported hundreds of nurse-led projects through its Fund for Innovation.[5] Dissemination of project results also helps nurses in other areas to learn from and implement new ideas. The projects—led by community nurses, midwives or health visitors—set up new services or improved ways of working. Grants of up to £5000 are available, in addition to a full year of professional development and support. All project leaders benefit from a professional development programme, supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

Homeless Health Initiative[edit]

The QNI became aware of the challenges of homeless health through the experiences of its members working in community nursing services. Many of them wanted to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence in caring for these service users, yet found there was little support or training opportunities for those often ‘working on the margins’. The QNI therefore launched the Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) in 2007, piloted with funding from the Big Lottery Fund until 2010, to offer support to all community nurses, health visitors, midwives and other health professionals working with people without a secure home in England.[6]

In those three years HHI made huge and measurable steps towards achieving its goals, and exceeded many of its targets. It established an active network of over 600 homeless health professionals (the target was 110 members); provided many opportunities for professional development, regular updates and information sharing; and produced resources and guidance on good practice in homeless health.[7]

Financial Assistance[edit]

QNI offers a range of financial and personal assistance to community nurses in need.


Healthcare policy is a key activity for The Queen’s Nursing Institute. The QNI works to influence decision makers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on health care policy including primary care, public health, nursing education, regulation and skill mix and issues such as services for homeless people and reducing health inequalities. To do so QNI contributes to stakeholder meetings, responds to national consultations, takes up issues raised by local projects where it appears they may have wider significance, and provides examples and information to policy-makers.


In 2009 QNI published a report ‘2020 Vision – focusing on the future of district nursing’ that set out to take a clear and focused look at what district nursing is and does.[8]

In it, they gave their view of a future when “many more people are treated at home, technology is exploited to the full to help deliver care and maintain independence, and the relationship between the individual, their family or carers and the nurse is key to building the trust and confidence people need to remain at home as long as possible”.[9] The report outlined recommendations for the practice, education, training and management of community nursing in the future.


The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Award for Outstanding Service
Founded in 1994, this award is presented to nurses who have given exceptional service to patients through nursing practice in any aspect of primary health care.

The QNI Long Service Award
This award is given to district nurses who have worked for 21 years or more in the community.


In February 2011 The Queen’s Nursing Institute rebranded the organisation to draw attention to a renewed focus on protecting and improving the standards of nursing care at home with patients and the public being key beneficiaries.[10] The new logo and colour scheme forms the day-to-day business brand appears on all the QNI’s publications aimed at community nurses, patients, government and decision-makers, and other stakeholders. The old logo, in use for more than 120 years prior, is still part of the formal historical brand.


The Queen’s Nursing Institute had an income of £646,490.[11] According to the 2010 audited accounts the QNI’s main sources of funding included income from grantmaking organisations, donations from individuals, and investment income. The QNI is not part of the NHS, and receives no regular Government funding. The QNI’s most important financial contributor over many years is the National Gardens Scheme,[12] which has supported the charity since 1927.


  1. ^ a b Pamela Horn (3 September 2014). Ladies of the Manor: How wives & daughters really lived in country house society over a century ago. Amberley Publishing Limited. pp. 130–. ISBN 978-1-4456-1989-7. 
  2. ^ Gordon, Peter; Doughan, David (2001). Dictionary of British Women's Organisations, 1825-1960. p. 121. 
  3. ^ ”Parliamentary Health Committee, Fifth Report: Commissioning: further issues”. April 5, 2011. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmhealth/796/796vw36.htm
  4. ^ The Queen's Nursing Institute - Queen's Nurses in the community
  5. ^ http://qni.org.uk/uploaded/FFI%202010%20Impact%20Report%20low%20res.pdf
  6. ^ “QNI Homeless Health Initiative’s Improving healthcare for homeless people: A Learning Resource” pp. 2-3.
  7. ^ “QNI Homeless Health Initiative’s Improving healthcare for homeless people: A Learning Resource” pp. 3. http://www.qni.org.uk/docs/Section%20A.pdf
  8. ^ ”2020 Vision: Focusing on the future of district nursing. 2009. pp.3
  9. ^ ”2020 Vision: Focusing on the future of district nursing. 2009. pp.7
  10. ^ 5. “QNI Launches New Look”. 1 Feb, 2011: http://www.qni.org.uk/news/23
  11. ^ “Impact Report 2010: How we helped” The Queen’s Nursing Institute, 2011, pp. 14
  12. ^ NGS - Beneficiaries

External links[edit]