Bernie 'humbled and grateful' to receive Queen's Nurse accolade
A nurse of 37 years has become the first person working in the Western Trust to be awarded the prestigious title of Queen's Nurse.
Bernie Michaelides started her nursing career in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast in January 1982 but for the last 28 years has worked with the Western Trust.
Only a handful of nurses in Northern Ireland hold the title of Queen's Nurse.
By coincidence, Mrs Michaelides' 90-year-old aunt, who lives in London, has also been awarded the honour.
The Queen's Nurse title is not an award for past service, but indicates a commitment to high standards of patient care, learning and leadership.
Derry-born Mrs Michaelides said: "I am both humbled and grateful to The Queen's Nursing Institute for giving me the title of Queen's Nurse.
"I am very proud to lead an incredible multi-disciplinary team of dedicated nurses and healthcare professionals in the Western Trust who strive every day to improve the lives of our patients, carers and their families."
The ceremony was held at the Royal Garden Hotel in London and was attended by almost 500 community nurses and guests.
"I come from a large family of nine siblings with three aunts who were nurses so I was influenced from an early age - including my aunt Kathleen who was appointed as a Queen's Nurse in the early Eighties," said Mrs Michaelides.
"I started my nursing career in the Royal ... but in 1991 I trained as a district nurse specialist, and community nursing is my passion and love. I was promoted into a management role and have been a nurse manager and lead nurse for community nursing for over 20 years.
"I manage the rapid response nursing services and specialist palliative care services in the Western Trust, and I am the lead nurse for community nursing which includes district nursing, treatment rooms and community specialist nurses."
Mrs Michaelides was awarded the RCN Nurse of the Year for Northern Ireland 2014 for the development of the Clinical Intervention Centre in Omagh, where patients could receive intravenous therapies such as blood transfusions outside of the hospital environment.
"In 2018 I was awarded the MBE by Prince William for my services to community nursing and the Royal Investiture at Buckingham Palace was held on January 31, 2019 so this has been a wonderful year for me so far," she added.
Dr Bob Brown, director of primary care and older people's services for the Western Trust, added: "We are delighted and proud that Bernie has received the award of Queen's Nurse, the first award in the Western Trust and representative of her commitment and dedication to leading nursing services in the community over several decades."