International Nurses Day – A voice to lead
On Sunday we celebrated International Nurses Day (IND) and an end to National Nurses Week. A day and a week to acknowledge and express our thanks to the dedication and compassion displayed by nurses everywhere. But also, a time for all nursing staff to unite and rejoice in their efforts within the healthcare system – in other words, many nurse work parties! International Nurses Day originally stemmed from a commemoration of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, a significant day being her birthday (12th May 1820). Florence Nightingale stood for all that nurses stand for today, having become an important figure in history for nursing during the Crimean War in the 1850s. Reforming the health care services at the barracks at Scutari and opening the “Nightingale School of Nursing”, London in 1860; this was a huge turning point in nursing.
Why Nurses Week is so important?
Nurses Week is the opportunity for all of us to show our appreciation to nurses everywhere for the work they do for our humanity, and to praise them for the important role they play within society. Nursing is the world’s largest health care profession and we celebrate IND to raise public awareness of the important impact that nurses have as the backbone of healthcare.
How did the IND and Nurses Week start?
The International Nurses’ Council initially proposed a Nurses day in 1953 as instigated by Dorothy Sutherland, only to be declined by the US president at the time. It was then observed and first celebrated in 1965 by the Council on May 12th, gaining global recognition in 1974. In memory of Florence Nightingale, the British Public Sector Union did however query this date in 1999 for its inaccurate symbolisation of modern nursing. As a result, the National Student Nurses Day was set up – to represent the vast developments being made in nursing, where students are not just learning the long-standing nursing fundamentals, but also the latest life-saving techniques. This is now celebrated annually on 8th May and is in the middle of National Nurses Week of 6th-12th May, which took effect from 2003.
How is IND celebrated?
Every year on the 12th May, a candle lamp service is held at Westminster Abbey in London for a candle to be passed from one nurse to another to have it finally placed on the High Altar. This act symbolises the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another and this ceremony also takes place every year the day after Florence Nightingale’s birthday at St Margarets Church at Wellow in Hampshire, where she was buried.
As part of the tradition, the International Nurses Council provides international-nurses-day kits to help educate and assist health workers. Each year the kit is based around a theme to direct attention towards a particular cause, whether that be working for the poor, fighting AIDS, sustainable development and so on. Nurses are encouraged on IND to comprehensively use the kit throughout the year within their individual and group activities. The IND theme for 2019 is ‘Nurses – A voice to lead – Health for all’.
Here are the themes in recent years:
2018 – “Nurses: Inspire, innovate, influence”
2017 – “Nursing: A voice to lead – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”
2016 – “Nurses: A force for a change: Improving health systems’ resilience”
2015 – “Nurses: A force for a change: Care Effective, Cost Effective”
2014 – “Nurses: A force for a change – A vital resource for health”
2013 – “Closing the gap: Millennium Development Goals”
2012 – “Closing the Gap: From Evidence to Action”
2011 – “Closing the Gap: Increasing Access and Equity”
2010 – “Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Chronic Care”
Safehands takes pride in recruiting and supporting professionals in the healthcare sector and we will be continuing our appreciation for nurses in the following weeks. We are making special placement offers – both for our existing nursing clients and for nurses who partner with Safehands for the first time. We are here to find registered nurses their ideal nursing position, so get in touch with our team now on 0333 200 1816 or in the link below!