Actors urge public to show their gratitude on International Nurses Day

They can buy a white e-rose and shine a light on what is also Florence Nightingale’s birthday

Picture: iStock

British actors have led calls for the public to thank nurses on International Nurses Day, which this year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. 

Helena Bonham-Carter, star of television series The Crown, is supporting a Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) appeal for people to buy a white e-rose in honour of a nurse or midwife who has helped them or a loved one. 

Personal connection to Florence Nightingale

‘We must never forget the sacrifice [nurses and midwives] make on a daily basis,’ she said.

‘This campaign provides a chance for anyone and everyone to thank a particular nurse or midwife who has meant a lot to them.’

Ms Bonham-Carter said the appeal had personal significance because her great-great grandmother was Ms Nightingale’s aunt.

A display of real white roses will be created at Westminster Abbey as part of the FNF’s annual commemoration service on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will take place at a later date. 

‘The public’s gratitude is immense’

Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones actor and RCN Ambassador Emilia Clarke thanked nurses in a video released by the RCN, in which she gave a reading of Michael Rosen’s poem These Are The Hands, which was written for the 60th anniversary of the NHS in 2008. 

‘I have joined nurses in celebrating this day and their work for several years,’ Ms Clarke said. 

‘The public’s gratitude is immense and, like everybody, I want to share a heartfelt thank you.’

Shine a light for Florence Nightingale

Members of the public are being encouraged to shine a light from their windows at 8.30pm on 12 May in recognition of nurses’ ongoing role in the COVID-19 pandemic – in a nod to Ms Nightingale’s famous lamp.

England’s chief nurse Ruth May said the action would express thanks during ‘the greatest health emergency in NHS history’.

‘It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses this Tuesday,’ she said.

RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair joined Ms May’s call.

‘We are asking the public to take a moment to show their thanks to nursing staff for all the work they do,’ she said.

Families of people who have died ‘will not forget’ nurses

International Council of Nurses chief executive Howard Catton said International Nurses Day provided a moment to reflect on the impact nurses can have on people’s lives.

'For those who have died, a nurse may have been the last voice they heard, hand they touched or face they saw, and their families will not forget,’ he said.

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