Health / Isles nurse receives prestigious award

Queen's Award winner Steven Mullay.

A DEMENTIA nurse has been awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse, making a trio of such awards for Shetland in the past three years.

Dementia clinical nurse specialist Steve Mullay was selected earlier this year to take part in a nine-month development programme run by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS).

Mullay, a community nurse, was nominated for the programme by his employers for his work supporting people with dementia, their families and carers across Shetland.

After completing the nine-month programme successfully, Mullay was awarded the historic Queen’s Nurse title, along with 19 other community nurses, at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Thursday.


Mullay has been in his role for eight years after joining the innovative nurse-led service which assesses, diagnoses and treats people with dementia.

Mullay, from Sandwick, said: “The key thing for me is to keep people with dementia out of hospital, to keep them living their lives in a familiar setting.

“I am very passionate about the efficiency of our service. We provide management of stress and distress, we are able to intervene quite quickly and often get on top of the issues before they become unmanageable locally.

“At the heart of the Queen’s Nurse programme is the determination to make a difference – to make things better for individuals, families and communities. The Queen’s Nurse title has historically been so well respected and I’m looking forward to the opportunities this brings to further the development of this service.”


The service, which is part-funded by Alzheimer Scotland, arose from a redesign led by NHS Shetland and Shetland Islands Council.

Other community nurses in the group from across Scotland include a Macmillan nurse, a nurse working in homeless services and care home nurses as well as district nurses, health visitors, school nurses and practice nurses.

They were all presented with their title by author Christie Watson at the ceremony at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.


NHS Shetland director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “Steve is a highly skilled specialist nurse and has dedicated a large part of his career to the care of older people and, in more recent years, he has played a significant role in the development of nursing care and support for people with dementia.

“Steve has been selected as one of 20 exceptional nurses to be awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse this year and I am so pleased that his skills and leadership have been recognised by the QNIS in this way.

“I am sure he will bring the learning from the programme provided by the QNIS into his own nursing practice, as well as using new knowledge and skills to support other nurses in Shetland.”

In 2019 the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland is celebrating its 130th anniversary. The original Queen’s Nurses provided care and health education to people in their own homes and became well respected figures within their community.

Following the introduction of a national certificate for district nursing, QNIS ceased training, awarding the QN title for the final time in 1969.


However, the decision was made to reintroduce Queen’s Nurses to Scotland in 2017, with 20 community nurses chosen to take part in a development programme which would see them become the first modern Queen’s Nurses.

The process involves employers nominating a community-based nurse who will go forward for interview following a successful written application.

The programme consists of a week-long residential workshop followed by two further workshops and coaching sessions in between.

Each nurse is developed in order to have a significant impact on those they care for and the nine months learning is applied in practice.

QNIS chief executive and nurse director Clare Cable said: “Three years on from reintroducing the Queen’s Nurse title to Scotland, we now have 61 Queen’s Nurses working in communities across the country.

“They are extraordinary role models for nursing in the community and show the enormous contribution which nurses make to the health of Scotland’s people.

“This year’s Queen’s Nurses demonstrate the diversity of community nursing roles, with the welcome addition of Queen’s Nurses working in learning disabilities, and sexual health for the first time.

“They are all expert community nurses – change makers across the country.”

Last year Tingwall based school nurse Keri Ratter was awarded the Queen’s Nurse title, and the year before it was children health team leader Clare Stiles.