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International Nurses Day 2019: how you celebrated

From abseiling hospitals to parties at work, read how the profession came together

From abseiling hospitals to parties at work, read how the profession came together

Former nurse Sue Smith hits the heights.
Picture: courtesy of Sue Smith

A nail-biting abseil down a landmark London hospital was just one of the events held to mark International Nurses Day 2019.

Nurses around the world celebrated the best of the profession on and around 12 May – Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Party time

The RCN sent 4,000 party packs to nurses to use as part of their celebrations at work, which contained items such as bunting, popcorn holders, and glasses and hats to use as selfie props. 

Many nurses took to social media to share their celebrations. 

The high life

Retired nurse and health visitor Sue Smith, who qualified 60 years ago, marked the occasion by taking part in a fundraising abseil 160ft down the front of St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.

The 78-year-old now volunteers as an honorary chaplain at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

She told Nursing Standard: ‘It was one of the most enjoyable, wonderful days of my life.

‘I loved every minute and, amazingly, felt no fear. The rain stayed away, the sun shone, and two of my children and three of my grandchildren came to support me.

‘I have had the most amazing support from so many people.’

Showing gratitude

The NMC tweeted its thanks to the 660,832 nurses on its register, while Game of Thrones actor and nursing ambassador Emilia Clarke urged nurses and the public to record video messages of thanks.

Nikki Holt and her four-year-old daughter Lucinda, who has Down’s syndrome, showed social media users the Makaton sign for nurse.

Scope of modern nursing

Among healthcare leaders paying tribute to the profession was NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, who said: ‘If Florence Nightingale was working across the NHS today she would recognise the compassion and the care of our nurses, but she would also be flabbergasted by the huge expansion in the roles that modern nurses play.

‘Hospital nursing, A&Es, mental health services, community nursing, primary care, running clinics, doing procedures, caring for people at the beginning and at the end of life – all of this is the diversity of modern nursing across the NHS, which we celebrate.’


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