The QNI: fostering excellence

20 June 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 12

The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), established in 1887 during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, was originally named in her honour. Since its inception it has had a royal patron, although not always the reigning monarch. Queen Victoria's era marked the development of modern nursing services in the UK and beyond, including the start of organised district nursing in 1859. Queen Elizabeth II, the fifth Patron, reinstated the Queen's Nurse title in 2007 and hosted Queen's Nurses at Buckingham Palace garden parties and other events. The current Patron, the sixth, is Queen Camilla.

William Rathbone (1819-1902) was a prominent English philanthropist and businessman who played a crucial role in the founding of the QNI. He was committed to improving healthcare and nursing services. After experiencing the challenges of caring for his terminally ill wife at home, he recognised the need for professional nursing care within the community. This led him to hire Florence Nightingale-trained nurse Mary Robinson to care for his wife. In 1859, Rathbone established a system of district nursing in Liverpool, which eventually expanded to other cities. His efforts concluded in the founding of the Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute for Nurses in 1887, now known as the QNI.

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