In this Year of the Nurse and Midwife, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list justly reflects the outstanding professionalism, knowledge and skill of nursing staff across all specialties and settings, which has been further highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor of Nursing Policy at King’s College London and RCN President Anne Marie-Rafferty (pictured above) has been awarded a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to nursing. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled by the news. It reflects the esteem in which our great profession is held across the nation and I am deeply honoured and grateful to all those who have supported me. I look forward to continuing to serve our profession in the years to come.”
Among those to be appointed OBE (Order of the British Empire) is Felicia Kwaku, Associate Director of Nursing at King’s College NHS Foundation Trust, who has been honoured for her services to nursing spanning more than 30 years. During the pandemic, she supported black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) nurses by delivering webinars which reached thousands of NHS staff at a time when they felt vulnerable, scared and worried.
NHS nurse Ashleigh Linsdell, who founded and co-ordinated a national movement to make scrubs for frontline workers when supplies ran short during the pandemic, has also been awarded an OBE.
Caroline Lee, Head of the Clinical Education Centre for Nurses, Midwives and Allied Health Professions, who helped train nurses in managing deteriorating patients during COVID-19 care, said she is “humbled” at being made an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for services to health care.
Among those awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) is Alison Williams, a research nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, who raised funds to provide essentials for COVID-19 hospital patients and help make them more comfortable. She also bought iPads to allow isolated patients to contact their loved ones when tight COVID-19 restrictions prevented visits.
Winsome Thomas, who has been a nurse at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for 21 years, has also been awarded the BEM. In 2018, she co-founded the trust’s BAME Nurses and Midwives Network, taking over as chairwoman the following year, and flagged emerging issues with personal protective equipment that was not appropriately safe for BAME staff during the pandemic.
Group Capt Sonia Margaret Phythian of Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service was appointed OBE, while Sergeant Siobhan Irene Davis and Warrant Officer Class 1 Richard John Lazarus, both of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, received the Royal Red Cross.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “It is wonderful to see so many nursing staff recognised in this way. It should make all those involved in nursing feel immensely proud.
“These honours highlight that right across the UK since the start of the pandemic, nursing staff have shown incredible professionalism and dedication under the most enormous pressures. It is poignant that so many BAME nurses have been honoured for their work speaking out and safeguarding their colleagues facing disproportionate risk from the COVID-19 virus.
“I would like particularly to congratulate our President Professor Anne Marie Rafferty on her Damehood. Anne Marie’s world-renowned research into staffing has been an invaluable tool for nursing staff making the case that safe and effective staffing in their workplace saves lives. It’s hard to think of a nurse more deserving of this honour.
“From hospitals to care homes and across the community, I hope these honours provide a welcome boost to all those who have dedicated themselves to the care of others.”