The William Rathbone X Annual Award for Excellence in the Executive Nurse Leadership of Community Nursing Services

William Rathbone X served as a Council member of the Queen’s Nursing Institute from 1974 until his death in 2022. He had a lifelong commitment to nursing in the community, and to the charity that had been founded by William Rathbone VI and Florence Nightingale. This Award is named after him.

The QNI recognises the necessity of excellent leadership at a strategic level in the delivery of excellent nursing care in the community. The Award will raise the profile and importance of the role of the executive nurse leader within healthcare provider organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This Award comprises a certificate and a monetary award of £500. It provides the recognition of the impact of excellent strategic nursing leadership, support for staff and the consequent positive outcomes for patient experiences in the delivery of community nursing services.


Nurses working for not-for-profit providers of NHS funded community health services including: integrated community and Mental Health trusts, integrated hospital and community trusts, local government and social care are eligible for nomination.

Nurses in commissioning organisations, integrated care boards, central government bodies, or single unit healthcare providers such as individual nursing homes or hospices, are not eligible for this award. If you have a query about eligibility, please contact us.


Chief Executives of provider organisations are invited to nominate their Chief Nurse/Director of Nursing. Nominators are asked to keep their nomination confidential.

Nomination criteria include:

  • Evidence of the nominee’s contribution to the national agenda for community nursing or the wider care at home sector
  • Achievements of the nominee in the delivery of excellent nursing services in the organisation
  • Evidence of these achievements, such as CQC (or equivalent) ratings and annual staff survey outcomes.

Nominations will be assessed by a panel including QNI staff and trustee representation, and external assessors.

William Rathbone X with a statue of his ancestor, William Rathbone VI

William Rathbone X

William Rathbone X – the X denoting that he was the tenth member of his family to bear the name – was born in Liverpool in May 1936. As a great-great-grandson of the founder of District Nursing and of the QNI, William Rathbone VI, he continued a long family tradition of philanthropy and public service. He personified the direct link between the QNI founded by his ancestor and Florence Nightingale, and the modern nursing of the 21st century.

Mr Rathbone was a member of the Council of the Queen’s Nursing Institute from 1974 until his death on 31st December 2022 and was Vice-Chair of Council for 24 years of that time. In 2009 he was awarded the Gold Badge of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, its highest award, and in 2012 he was made an OBE for his charitable services. During his career he was also chief executive of the charity RUKBA, and closely involved as a trustee or advisor of nine charities.

Read more about William Rathbone and the history of district nursing on our sister site, QNI Heritage.


The award is being funded by a generous donation from Lucy and Nick Addyman, Mr Rathbone’s daughter and son-in-law (also a QNI Trustee) which will enable the award to be offered in perpetuity.






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