‘Nearly a week has passed already since International Nurses Day 2024’

Suddenly, nearly a week has passed since International Nurses Day 2024 and we are already charging headlong towards June.

As usual, there was a lot happening around the country in celebration of International Nurses Day on Sunday, 12 May, but I will try to give you a brief snapshot of some of the events that caught my eye.

“The atmosphere felt like one happy reunion for lots of people there”

First, a group of nurses met Queen Camilla. She visited The Royal London Hospital in London to meet 11 Roald Dahl specialist children’s nurses. It’s a great charity, so I am very happy for them.

Second, two top nurses from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spoke to Nursing Times about why they love the profession and the opportunities it provides.

Robert Bleasdale and Gabrielle Monk used International Nurses Day to highlight that a career in nursing “can take you almost anywhere”.

Third, Nursing Times met a family of three nurses who also reflected on the vast opportunities available to those wanting to join the profession.

The Greeves family, which works across a variety of roles and trusts in London, flagged the importance of camaraderie during trying times and attracting future generations into the profession.

Probably most important of all, the International Council of Nurses urged world governments to invest in nursing and universal health instead of choosing “short-term fixes”.

A new ICN report, focused on ‘the economic power of care’, was unveiled ahead of International Nurses Day and aimed to show governments an economic argument for investing in nursing.

Meanwhile, I was fortunate once again to have the honour of attending the annual service to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey.

There were more than 2,000 nurses there this year, I have been told, and it certainly felt like it on the day. The atmosphere felt like one happy reunion for lots of people there.

While the service happens every year – pandemics notwithstanding – it was still able to pull off an important first.

The nurse who carried the ceremonial lamp at the service this year was the first to ever do so from the adult social care sector.

The lamp bearer was Emily Pimm, who qualified in 2006 and works as a social care deputy manager at John Wills House Care Home in Westbury-on-Trym, which is run by the St Monica Trust.

You may well ask, why has it taken 59 years for this to happen – the first of these services took place in 1965. But now it has and represents yet another key piece of visibility for social care nurses.

While there was so much to celebrate, I was, however, very sad to hear this week that Dame Professor Liz Fradd had passed away.

Tributes have been pouring in for the popular nurse leader and children’s nurse, whose list of lifetime achievements are really quite astonishing in their breadth and scale.

I remember very well that she was included in a list of outstanding nurse leaders compiled in 2014 by Nursing Times, though this pales into insignificance compared to many of her other achievements.

Perhaps it was fitting in a way that such an influential and inspirational member of the nursing profession died on International Nurses Day.

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