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Queen’s Nurse title awarded to Jan Thirkettle

Hospice in the Weald is delighted to share that Clinical Director Jan Thirkettle has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse (QN) by The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI). Jan was presented with her certificate at an awards ceremony held in London on 8th December, and the title recognises Jan’s commitment to high standards across all areas in community nursing. 

“This not only acknowledges my own commitment to improving standards of care in the community and to learning and leadership; but that of the entire team at Hospice in the Weald, said Jan. “It is a huge honour to be recognised as a Queen’s Nurse.”

Hospice in the Weald provides free care and support to adults and children facing life-threatening or terminal illness in west Kent and East Sussex. Jan’s leadership in helping to extend the organisation’s reach beyond the Hospice’s walls and into the community played a key part in her gaining the title. 

“I am particularly proud of how the Hospice has enhanced its role within hospital and community teams to improve end-of-life care for terminally ill patients,” said Jan. 

Jan Thirkettle receiving her award as Queen's Nurse

She continued: “This has ensured more people can die in the place of their choice, whether in their own home, in the hospice or elsewhere. I couldn’t have done this without the backing of my colleagues at Hospice in the Weald, my husband Paul, our children and grandchildren who have supported me throughout my career.” 

Nurses with the QN title benefit from development workshops and a shared professional identity. “As a Queen’s Nurse I am now part of a dynamic network and get to hear about all the good practice across the country. This inspires me and has also opened new opportunities for my colleagues as we together work to improve the care and support we offer in our own community.” Jan explained.

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen’s Nursing Institute said: “On behalf of the QNI I would like to congratulate Jan and welcome her as a Queen’s Nurse. Queen’s Nurses serve as leaders and role models in community nursing, delivering high-quality health care across the country.  

“The process to become a Queen’s Nurse is rigorous and requires a clear commitment to improving care for patients, their families and carers.”

Reflecting on her career, Jan said: “When I was young I wanted to be a BBC cameraman – but was told I could be a secretary, teacher or nurse. Teaching wasn’t for me, so I decided to try nursing. I have now been a nurse for more than 40 years. My true love is palliative care. 

“When I was a student, I cared for an 18-year-old patient on a hospital ward who was dying from stomach cancer. It was traumatic for all concerned, but that night it struck me that I had made a difference at a crucial time, for that young man and his family. I decided to get specialist training at the Royal Marsden and have worked in palliative care ever since.” 

“When I started out, my career was mapped out. It’s wonderful to see how many more opportunities there are now.  My advice to aspiring Queen’s Nurses developing their careers is to be authentic, always listen and make the most of every opportunity.”

Nurse helping patient at Cottage Hospice with pillow

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