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A Fife nurse is among a group of 20 to have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse, marking the first time the honour has been made in Scotland for almost 50 years.

Gemma MacDonald, a health visitor based in West Fife, was selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).

She was nominated by NHS managers for providing high quality, compassionate nursing care.

From a base at the Rosewell clinic in Lochore, she covers communities including Ballingry, Cardenden and Lochgelly.

She helps families seek out the support they may need for a range of issues and signposts people to the other services such as Women’s Aid, Family Support and Foodbank.

“It’s my job to assess situations, and engage families in what needs to be done to give their child a secure and happy first five years,” said Gemma.

At just 31, Gemma is one of the youngest of the newly appointed Queen’s Nurses and she said she was “absolutely delighted” to be awarded the title.

“The QNIS programme has been transformational on a personal and professional level and the best part is that every aspect of it can be translated into the workplace and into the homes of the families I work with.

“By doing so together, we can transform communities that are healthy, resilient and courageous. I am filled with enthusiasm to continue building on the great work that is already happening and inspiring others to be the best they can be.”

After completing the nine-month QNIS programme, Gemma has earned the right to use the Queen’s Nurse title which dates back to the late 19th century when nurses trained at Institute sites across the country until 1969.

The decision was made to reintroduce the title to Scotland in 2017 following the precedent set by sister organisation the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI), which represents the rest of the UK. A Scottish programme was then developed after extensive consultation with health and social care leaders.

Gemma is among the 20 new Queen’s Nurses and was presented with a certificate and badge by Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith during the QNIS awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Other community nurses in the group include a midwife caring for asylum seeking mothers in Glasgow, a nurse in police custody, practice and district nurses, school nurses, a mental health nurse, a care home and a Parish nurse.

Clare Cable, Chief Executive and Nurse Director of QNIS, said: “These 20 exceptional individuals can be deservedly proud of being awarded this prestigious title.

“From the late 1880s, Queen’s Nurses were social reformers who were taking public health into people’s homes to help families take better care of themselves. The modern Queen’s Nurses are building on this proud heritage – sharing this pioneering spirit to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities of Scotland.

“Their roles vary, from bringing care to some of society’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups to supporting people in mental distress or end of life care.

“They represent the geography of Scotland, from rural communities and small islands to concentrated areas within the big cities, but they all demonstrate nursing excellence which makes a real difference to the lives of the people they work with.”