Public called on to 'shine a light' on International Nurses Day

Public called on to 'shine a light' on International Nurses Day

by Danielle Thompson (May 2020)

NURSING chiefs are asking the public to ‘shine a light’ to mark International Nurses Day on Tuesday (May 12) and recognise the extraordinary work that their colleagues are doing in the fight against the 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.

Ruth May, England’s top nurse, 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.

Thousands of former nurses have come out of retirement to help the NHS with the greatest health emergency in its history, and thousands more students have done their bit in the battle against the pandemic through choosing to take up extended clinical placements. To mark International Nurses Day and Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary, an image of her and a message of thanks will be projected on to her place of work, St Thomas’s Hospital, from the Houses of Parliament. It will also be projected onto the British Embassy in Rome and the Italian Federation of Nurses from 9-11pm.

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “International Day of the Nurse is particularly special this year not just because we mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, but because of the extraordinary work all those who have followed in her footsteps are doing in the fight against coronavirus.

“I want to thank each and every one of our incredible nurses who are on the frontline in the battle against the greatest health emergency in NHS history. Their professionalism and skills are helping to save and rebuild countless lives. It is a challenging but hugely rewarding career and I would urge anyone inspired by their example to sign up to join us and become a nurse.

“I know how much the public’s support has buoyed my colleagues during this testing time. It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday.”

Nursing has changed dramatically since Florence Nightingale founded the first nursing school in – 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.

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