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|Nursing leaders are asking the public to ‘shine a light’ to mark International Nurses Day on Tuesday (12th May) and recognise the extraordinary work that their colleagues are doing in the fight against coronavirus.
The day also marks on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing and pioneered infection control, but is also famous for her lamp. 2020 has been made International Year of the Nurse to mark the bicentenary of Florence’s birth.
Siobhan Heafield, the Chief Nurse for the Midlands, has joined other senior nursing leaders in urging people to shine a light from their window at 8:30pm on Tuesday to mark the day and show their appreciation for all that nurses are doing to save and rebuild the lives of patients with coronavirus.
Siobhan said: “Thank you to the nurses, midwifes and heath visitors who work hard for the patients across our region each and every day.
“Nightingale is most often remembered as ‘the lady with the lamp’ and for her role during the Crimean War. In 2020, we find ourselves in the midst of a war against a virus that has caused a global pandemic and will have a lasting influence on nursing.
“There are many similarities to reflect on, not least the setting up at great speed of Nightingale hospitals across the country to provide additional capacity and support to NHS hospitals.”
Thousands of former nurses have returned to help the NHS with the greatest health emergency in its history (see sample case study below), and thousands more students have done their bit in the battle against Covid-19 through choosing to take up extended clinical placements.
Professor Greta Westwood, CEO of Florence Nightingale Foundation said: “Nurses have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing expert care and support to patients and their families during these uncertain times.
“Florence Nightingale, herself a trailblazer during her career, would have been proud at the way nurses have followed in her footsteps as pioneers and leaders in the fight against the pandemic. They are truly her legacy today.”
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said: “International Nurses Day is more important than ever as we recognise the enormous contribution existing and former professionals are making in caring for people through some of the most challenging moments of their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“2020, the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, is shining a light on the dedication, skills and expertise of everyone on the NMC register in ways we hadn’t expected. They are the beating heart of our health and social care system, trusted and appreciated by the public and deserving of our admiration and respect.
“I am so grateful and proud of our nurses, nursing associates and their colleagues. I hope this special day encourages even more nurses to join or return to what is a wonderful and rewarding career.”
Julie Pearce, Marie Curie Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Quality and Caring Services, said: “Caring for someone during their final weeks and days of life is both a privilege and a challenge. Right now our frontline nurses and other professionals are committed to supporting the NHS through this national crisis, caring for patients with coronavirus and other illnesses in our hospices, in homes and care homes across our four nations.
“Nurses have never had a more difficult time providing care, and we’ve seen them rise to the challenge, from moving into frontline roles, helping families to keep their loved one safe and addressing the understandable anxieties that are being felt at this time. International Nurses Day is a special time for us all to come together to celebrate and thank every nurse for their courage and commitment.”
Nursing has changed dramatically since Florence Nightingale founded the first nursing school in London – nurses are not only on hospital wards, they are out in the community, care homes, academia, running hospitals and developing policy.
The modern nursing challenge is to deliver consistent and improving high quality care and they are essential to meet the challenge of improving care, reducing inequalities and using health and care resources wisely.
Nurses have never been more needed. If you’re interested in joining our team, find out more https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/nursing-careers