A nurse manager with a love of the Queen has been given a regal title of her own in recognition of her role in caring for others.
As well as managing a team of nurses at Riverside Surgery in Port Talbot, Nicola Wallis examines, diagnoses and helps to treat patients as an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP).
After training for three years, Nicola is now able to assess patients at the surgery, just as a GP would.
Her passion for focusing on and improving patient-centred care in the community has now seen Nicola, who started work in the Swansea Bay area last year, crowned as a Queen’s Nurse.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute, a charity dedicated to improving the nursing care of people in their own homes and communities, awards the title to nurses who demonstrate a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing practice.
At present, there are only 53 nurses with the title in Wales.
“It’s something that goes hand in hand with my practice as I strive to work for my patients and to provide high quality patient-centred care,” Nicola said.
“I worked in secondary care for nearly 13 years but for the last year I’ve worked in primary care in Swansea Bay and have really found my passion.
“We had a new nursing team last year. None of them were trained to work in primary care, so we facilitated training for them to become fully fledged practice nurses.
“It was my role to teach them and get them up and running. My role is both educational and clinical.
“To come to a different health board and work really hard to get a nursing team up and running – it’s probably one of my proudest moments.
“This year I have even developed to become an ANP, which has been the icing on the cake of a really good year.”
Pictured: Nicola after receiving her award at a ceremony in London.
The accolade itself is given to nurses who are committed to learning, leadership and excellence in patient care.
Queen’s Nurses can access bursaries, leadership opportunities and developmental programmes, among other resources.
Nicola added: “Being a Queen’s Nurse means you have access to resources that only a Queen’s Nurse can access.
“There’s a huge hub of educational resources and a wealth of information from experienced nurses who have been a Queen’s Nurse for several years. Having the ability to network with them will be great.
“I think it will benefit my patients because I will strive to honour the award and make sure I uphold everything it represents.
“The opportunities this could hold are just so exciting.”
While Nicola was immensely proud to receive the accolade in a professional sense, it also meant a great deal to her personally – being a huge admirer of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Nicola said: “To be a Queen’s Nurse this year is so humbling and I feel so privileged.
“I’ve had a lot of feedback from family and friends saying they know how important this must be for me because they know how passionate I was about the Queen.
“I adored her and I thought she was just the most amazing woman.
“There are only 53 Queen’s Nurses in Wales in total so it’s a very select group and I just feel very privileged to be one of them.
“It’s almost bittersweet because she died this year but to honour her this year is wonderful. I feel really, really proud.”
Dr Beverley Evans and Dr Kirsty Wallis, GP partners at Riverside Surgery, said: “At Riverside Surgery, we consider ourselves very lucky to work beside a colleague as exceptional as Nicola and are incredibly proud of her achievement.
“Her dedication and passion for providing excellent nursing care for our patients is nothing short of inspirational and we’re very proud to see this recognised with her award as a Queen’s Nurse.”