Did you know that nursing is the single largest profession in the global healthcare workforce, with 29 registered nurses for every 10,000 people worldwide? It's seems only fitting therefore that every year, on 12 May, we celebrate the amazing work that nurses do and take a moment to say ‘thank you’.
Although the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated International Nurses' Day since 1965, it wasn't until 1974 that 12 May - Florence Nightingale's anniversary - was officially chosen to publically celebrate the day.
Florence Nightingale, as any good healthcare professional will remind you, is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing. After nursing troops during the Crimean war in the 1850s, she returned to London and established the first ever school of nursing at St Thomas’ hospital, now part of King’s College, London. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross by Queen Victoria in 1883 and is most remembered for her compassion, commitment to patient care and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.
International Nurse’s Day is celebrated in different ways around the world. In the UK an annual service takes place in Westminster Abbey. During the Service, to signify the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another, a symbolic lamp is taken from the Nurses' Chapel in the Abbey and handed from one nurse to another, and then to the Dean, who places it on the high altar.
Each year International Nurses’ Day carries a different theme, ranging from Safe Motherhood in 1988 to Safe Staffing Saves Lives in 2006. This year the theme is Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving Health Systems' Resilience.
In the UK there are 690,000 nurses and midwives on the NMC Register. Many of them originate from, or have worked overseas and have witnessed first-hand how nursing and healthcare standards can differ from country to country.
Edna, a Pulse general nurse from the Philippines, worked in Saudi Arabia before moving to the UK to practice. She lists delivering a baby in the back of a car in Saudi, 20 miles from the nearest town, as her career highlight.
Sipathisiwe, a Pulse surgical nurse from Zimbabwe qualified as a nurse in 1991. “My first nursing job after qualifying was on a female medical ward. In 2002 I moved to the UK because there were more nursing opportunities” she tells us.
Kathryn, a Pulse paediatric nurse from Australia has worked in eight different countries across countless specialisms but has no particular favourite – “I’ve loved all of my nursing jobs and every challenge - they've all enriched me.”
As the Royal College of Nursing says, ‘Every day, nursing staff around the world go the extra mile for their patients. Nurses’ Day is your chance to say thank you.’ Pulse thanks every nurse, midwife, HCA and ODP for the compassionate care and invaluable contribution they make every day.
Why not take a minute to say thank you on social media using #IND2016?