Speaking at the Queen's Nursing Institute Awards, England's Chief Nursing Officer Dame Christine Beasley urged community nurses to seize "the tremendous opportunities" available to provide a vital, if "unsung", service.
She said: "People want to be nursed where they live, so community nursing services are of vital importance.
"We nurses can sometimes be passive about decisions that affect us, but I urge you to grasp the challenges, so that like the QNI, you can punch above your weight."
The event saw 130 nurses and distinguished guests celebrate the creation of 31 new Queen's Nurses and the awarding of Fellowships to the former Northern Ireland CNO, Professor Martin Bradley, and Ann Rowe of the Department of Health's Family Nurse Partnership.
Dame Christine paid tribute to the new Fellows describing them as "excellent colleagues and great contributors to the QNI" before presenting badges to the practice nurses, nurse educators, family nurses and nurses for the homeless who made up latest batch of QN's, bringing their total number to 199.
Alongside the main awards, QNI Chair Rosalynde Lowe CBE paid tribute to her late predecessor Maureen Acland who chaired the QNI from 1978-2003 before sadly passing away earlier this year.
"Mo was endlessly passionate about community nurses and nursing," Ms Lowe said.
"I learned a huge amount from her about being a Chair, and perhaps even more valuably, about being an ex-Chair, which I hope to be able to put into practice when Jane Salvage takes over from me next August!"
Following the appointment of the new Queen's Nurses, the QNI released a report into the state of nursing in the home which detailed the key skills that patients value.
"Nursing People at Home: the issues, the stories, the actions" was launched at the House of Lords by Baroness Julia Cumberlege and showed 70 per cent of experience of nursing in the home were positive but there were areas for imporvement in terms of the ability to assess unexpected situations and answer questions about treatment.
Baroness Cumberlege said: "This report is a springboard for the workforce and a springboard for action. What is the most common question asked in hospital, 'When can I go home?'. 65 per cent of people want to die at home but only 20 per cent do - this has to change."
QNI Director Rosemary Cook said the results of the report illustrated why her institute had appointed the latest group of Queen's Nurses.
"People were very clear about what they wanted from community nursing, they wanted competence, confidence and caring," she said.
"That's why the QNI puts so much emphasis on identifying committed Queen's Nurses who make change happen and are role models for others."
A copy of the full report is available at www.qni.org.uk
Posted 24/11/11 at 1030 by email@example.com