Kerrie Duhre: Nurse leader and pioneer of children's community nursing
Friday 11 March 2011
Kerrie Duhre, who has died aged 48 from breast cancer, was a community nurse leader in Scotland whose fund-raising skills enabled the Fife Children's Community Nursing Service to be established and to flourish. Duhre was also a captain in the Territorial Army and a keen outdoor sportsperson.
During her general nurse training at the Charles Frears College of Nursing, now part of De Montfort University, Leicester, Duhre was impressed during her paediatric assignment by how much more quickly children recovered their spirit after an operation than adults; she decided to specialise in paediatric nursing. After passing her state-registered nurse examination when traumatised by the death, in a car accident, of her Army father, she took her training as a sick children's nurse at the Birmingham Children's Hospital. She went on to become sister in the intensive care unit.
When she married a Sikh, Gurdial Duhre, his work as an accountant took them to Scotland, where Kerrie's experience in nursing children with complex needs made her an ideal community nurse for a child discharged back into the community in need of constant attention. Duhre and her manager realised that there was a need for a special service for such children, and she set about securing funds from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to establish Fife Children's Community Nursing Service in August 1999.
It was one of the first such services, and as it extended to include staff with backgrounds beyond sick children's nursing, Duhre, its lead nurse, continued to seek funds from the Diana Fund and the Scottish Government. Her final successful fund-raising bid – to secure the first community paediatric nurse practitioner – was completed in October 2010. By that time Duhre was dying.
She had been diagnosed with breast cancer; nevertheless, she took part in presentations to medical students on the effect of chemotherapy on the taste buds of cancer patients, the subject of a special study at Dundee University.
Never an introspective person, Duhre did lament that her healthy lifestyle had not spared her from the disease. She played hockey until first diagnosed; she rode horses, went cycling, and took part in adventure racing and hill-walking. As a captain in the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps in the Territorial Army – she came from an Army family – she was the first woman team leader in the Pegasus inter-medical unit competition, which has a vigorous physical content.
Nationally, Duhre was a member of the Strategic Paediatric Educationalists and Nurses Scotland and was involved in Education Scotland, for whose work on course content she went on visits to Sweden and elsewhere. In the UK she served on the advisory committee of the specialist publication Paediatric Nursing.
As soon as she had moved to Scotland she became involved in the Dollar Civic Trust and in the preservation of the countryside around her home, which she loved to roam. Kerrie and Gurdial had two children, both of whom followed their mother into healthcare: their son is an IT technician at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, and their daughter is studying medicine at Newcastle University.
Duhre had one indulgence outside her profession and her sport – she had a passion for handbags.
Kerrie Palmer, nurse leader, sick children's specialist and fund-raiser: born Aldershot 20 April 1962; married 1984 Gurdial Duhre (one son, one daughter); died Denny, Stirlingshire 16 January 2011.
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