Every year on May 12th, International Nurses Day takes place to celebrate and mark the contributions nurses make to our society every day. This year, in particular, is significant as it is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale; pioneer of many of the principles that lie at the heart of the modern day profession. 2020 was also designated as the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in recognition of the contribution of nurses and midwives in improving global health. As well as all of that, nurses all over the world are in the midst of responding to a global pandemic.
Almost 2,000 nurses and 400 health care assistants work at NELFT and ordinarily, International Nurses day would be a time for mass celebration. This year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the celebration was held virtually, with recorded messages from NELFT Chief Executive, Professor Oliver Shanley OBE and Emma Wadey, Head of Mental Health Nursing at NHS England and NHS Improvement.
The centerpiece of the day was the webinar and quiz hosted by chief nurse, Stephanie Dawe, joined by Diane Searle, Debbie Smith, director of nursing (patient experience); Susan Smyth, director of nursing (clinical effectiveness) and Bridgette Beal, director of nursing from PROVIDE in Essex. Staff from across the trust joined together to share nursing stories and to recognize the incredible work being carried out by nurses in the face of the current crisis. Many nurses and teams took to Twitter to tweet their nursing selfies and shared what nursing meant to them on this special day.
Stephanie Dawe said: "It’s pretty unusual that we should be celebrating International Nurses Day through virtual means, but it is no less important. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen some pretty tremendous things, transformation that has been inspirational. It’s not just the grand schemes…it is actually the small touches that I’ve see with every one of you. The touches of kindness and compassion and I want to say thank you to every one of you, every day for the most amazing things you do."