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History of the QIDN Ireland

The origins of The Queen’s Institute of District Nursing in Ireland go back to the eighteen hundreds.

In 1859 in Liverpool, Lucretia Wainwright Gair was nursed at home by a Mary Robinson during her final illness. Lucretia was the wife of William Rathbone who was a businessman and philanthropist. After her death William Rathbone wanted to ensure that similar care could be available to people in Liverpool who could not afford to pay for such a service. He obtained the assistance of Florence Nightingale and set up a system to train nurses to care for patients in their own homes.

1887 was the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and the women of the United Kingdom ( which included Ireland at that time) raised monies as a gift to be spent according to the Queen’s wishes. She funded William Rathbone’s initiative and the Queen’s Institute of District Nursing was born and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1889. This was the beginning of the organisation of district nursing.

The Institute had it’s first Dublin office at 14 Nassau Street. It organised the education of district nurses, district nursing services and associated functions. It also funded pensions for district nurses.

At that time, the QIDN undertook fundraising activities to support it’s services. These were the first formal community nursing care services in Ireland and laid the foundations for the services we have today.

As newer systems of education for nurses came into being the QIDN terminated it’s training schemes for nurses in 1968 after almost 75 years.

The Institute administered it’s pension fund until 2003 whereafter it’s general endowment fund, specific trust funds and it’s pension and gratuity fund were amalgamated into one consolidated fund by the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland. This consolidated fund is now administered by the QIDN in accordance with it’s constitution (dated 2020).
The QIDN no longer undertakes fundraising activities. It’s income is derived from the yield on an investment portfolio and this is distributed by the Board and Council to individuals or bodies who apply for grant aid.

Bibliography: Prendergast, E, & Sheridan, H. (2012) Jubilee Nurse. Voluntary District Nursing in Ireland 1890-1974. Wolfhound Press.